Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hailey firefighters deploy to Southwest

Wallow Fire 18 percent contained

Express Staff Writer

Three firefighters and one engine from the Hailey Fire Department were deployed last week to a massive wildland fire in Arizona and New Mexico.

Captain Mike Baledge and firefighter Brian Ernst will spend two weeks with Hailey's Engine Two, a firefighting apparatus specially designed for fighting wildland fires.

James Herbert, a 13-year veteran of the department with extensive wildland fire experience, was deployed as a task leader on a different assignment and could stay longer.

The Wallow Fire in Arizona could soon become the largest wildfire in Arizona history. Containment of the 470,000-acre fire was at only 18 percent on Tuesday.


"Mike and Brian have been waiting for two years for this experience," said Hailey Fire Chief Mike Chapman. "This training will advance them to the next level, of engine boss."

The Hailey firefighters and engine were recruited by the Idaho Department of Lands and have been granted leave from their Hailey jobs.

The Hailey Fire Department will receive $2,000 per day plus fuel expenses on site.

The firefighters will receive from $13 to $28 per hour, based on their levels of experience. They will work 14 hours per day, seven days per week.

"It adds up," said Chapman.

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