Friday, August 17, 2012

Valley firefighters deployed to big blazes

Staff, resources sent across the West

Express Staff Writer

Firefighters from Hailey, Ketchum, Sun Valley and Wood River Fire & Rescue have been deployed both in and out of the state to help combat wildfires ravaging the Intermountain West.

Fire departments from the Wood River Valley have deployed a total of 11 personnel, two fire trucks and one ambulance to contribute to fire suppression efforts. Deployment generally lasts a minimum of 14 days, unless the fire in question is suppressed before the deployment period ends.

On Aug. 8, Ketchum deployed Assistant Chief Robbie Englehart to lead a strike team in charge of protecting structures threatened by the Mustang Complex fire 28 miles north of North Fork near Salmon and Challis.

"Robbie is in charge of a contingent of fire engines," Ketchum Fire Chief Mike Elle said.

On Aug. 11, Sun Valley deployed firefighters Michael Franco, Mal Prior and Slater Storey and one fire engine to fight the Pigeon Canyon Fire in Arizona, 45 miles south of St. George, Utah.

On Aug. 12, Hailey deployed Assistant Chief Jon Wisby and firefighters Carl Hjelm and Calvin Nader also to help fight the Pigeon Canyon Fire.

The burn area of the 78,000-acre Halstead Fire is shown in red, while the closure area around the fire is shown in blue. Recreationists are not allowed to raft, camp or otherwise inhabit the closed area until further notice. However, the city of Stanley was not included in the closed area as of Thursday. The smaller Bench Fire is burning south of Highway 21.
Express map by Tony Barriatua

On Aug. 11, Wood River Fire & Rescue deployed emergency medical technician Rune Haavik, paramedic firefighter Charlie Butterfield, water tender truck operator José Avila and one 2,000-gallon water tender truck to the Springs Fire, five miles west of Garden Valley.

On Aug. 16, Wood River Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Jeff Nevins was deployed to the Mustang Complex Fire.

"He's going up as a strike team leader to be in charge of a strike team of engines," Wood River Fire & Rescue Chief Bart Lassman said.

Bellevue has not yet committed any human or equipment resources to the region's wildfires.

"The dispatchers are calling us to warn us that it's a possibility," Bellevue Fire Chief Greg Beaver said. "I have four firefighters who are qualified and willing to go, but I would send two to three max. I have to cover my city first and foremost."

Brennan Rego:

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