Fire camps: keeping firefighters fed, clothed, and clean all from the comfort of…

TARKIO — Preventing wildfires within the Montana wilderness is a posh and troublesome job that requires lots of of firefighters, help employees and different specialists to maintain houses and lives protected. All these teams converge on the identical location — the hearth camp.

Phil Sneed, a public info officer for the Burdette and Dawn Fires, defined that for a big camp just like the one simply outdoors of Tarkio, land use agreements between land house owners and hearth crews are made in order that camps could be pitched on fields, including the dozen-odd trailers, semis, and bunches of vans and hearth engines that crowd across the area.

Near the central cluster of trailers that home the communications, medical, security and mapping crews are a number of easels that maintain the lists of fireside crews and a big brightly coloured map of the Dawn hearth. The pink, orange and darkish-purple coloring are from an infrared picture taken in the course of the night time. Sunday, as a result of the climate is dry and the wind shall be blowing till 5 p.m., the crews shall be specializing in the south and southeast parts of the hearth to keep away from it burning towards buildings.

As a result of the Sundown hearth is so giant, crews from greater than a dozen states are on website making an attempt to include it. Coming from as far east as West Virginia and north as Alaska, their vibrant-coloured tents unfold over the sector like mushrooms.

As a result of every shift is sixteen hours lengthy, firefighters not often get eight hours of sleep, based on Sneed. They should eat an unimaginable quantity of energy wanted to do the exhausting bodily labor of preventing fires (6,600 energy per day, in line with the Forest Service web site), bathe, get medical consideration after which go to sleep.

However once they’re awake and at camp, they will go to the medical trailer and get consideration for the scrapes and bruises that include digging hearth strains and dealing with the forest. Blisters are all the time a problem, in line with Connie Weeks, one of many medical crew managers, so Gold Bond foot powder is all the time provided. “If it’s moist, dry it; if it’s dry, moist it’s the motto” Weeks says.

It’s been brutally scorching just lately so the primary medical grievance has been warmth exhaustion. And with crews coming from decrease elevations, the leap may be troublesome. “Morning and night briefings the message is ‘hydrate, hydrate, hydrate,’” Weeks says.

The firefighters’ lengthy hours and shifts…

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