An emergency operations team from the Northwest is working in Georgia this week to fight a few of the many wildfires burning in the smoky Southeast.
The team of about 50 is led by Noel Livingston of the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center. It includes representatives from fire departments and federal land management agencies in Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
Randy Johnson from Spokane County’s rural Fire District 4 is the operations section chief. He says the team is based in Clayton, a town of about two thousand in the northeast corner of Georgia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“They are having a very similar situation to what we have suffered through in 2014 and 2015 for our wildland season,” said Johnson. “They have a lot of fire on the landscape down here, more than they’ve seen in anyone’s memory and so they were asking for help from across the nation. We were able to put our team together and come down and spend some time helping them with one or two of the fires that they have.”
Johnson says experiences like this help his district and the others represented on the team when they deal with fires in their jurisdictions.
It’s the first time Johnson’s team has been called out this year, compared to 60-to-70 days of duty during each of the busy 2014 and 2015 wildfire seasons in the Northwest.