Friday, September 19, 2014

Hailey firefighters battle blaze near Canada

Reciprocation expected next time fire threatens Wood River Valley

Express Staff Writer

Hailey firefighters worked from this camp in northern Washington state. Courtesy photo

    Three Hailey firefighters spent nearly 14 days in Washington late last month working near the Canadian border on the Upper Falls Fire.
    Hailey Fire Chief Craig Aberbach said their dedication will be returned to Hailey the next time this area needs fire-fighting assistance.
    “The resources we provide to other agencies are the same resources that we will get in return,” Aberbach said.
    Numerous fire crews from around the country drove to the Wood River Valley last summer to fight the Beaver Creek Fire.
    Deputy Fire Chief Mike Baledge and firefighters Calvin Nalder and Justin Safly drove for two days to meet up with 184 other firefighters near Winthrop, Wash., to fight the Upper Falls Fire. The blaze was started by lightning and burned 8,120 acres and threatened homes and other property in the area before it was extinguished. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the fire burned in steep, rugged terrain in dense subalpine/Douglas fir stands with a high percentage of beetle-killed trees.
    Recent heavy rainfall aided firefighting efforts “tremendously,” NIFC reported.
    The firefighters were recognized for their service at a Hailey City Council meeting Monday.
“In addition to the work performed in Washington, it must be noted the hardships and workloads they miss at home,” Aberbach said.
“Nalder and Safly have to schedule time away from their full-time professions and all three sacrifice personal family time,” he said.
    Aberbach said the experiences gained by the Hailey crew were brought back and shared with others.
    “The costs associated with deployments such as these are not borne by the city,” Aberbach said.

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