Washington DNR asking citizens to help with firefight - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington DNR asking citizens to help with firefight

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Photo courtesy Steve Perry on Facebook Photo courtesy Steve Perry on Facebook
OMAK, Wash. -

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources needs your help. 

For the first time in state history, the DNR is setting up temporary community resource coordination centers for those wishing to commit time or equipment to fighting the fires that are currently burning throughout the state. 

DNR fire incident command posts and dispatch centers have been inundated with offers from citizens to help with firefighting efforts. 

“If people want to help, we’d like them to contact our coordinators so we can work on getting them safely and appropriately involved,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “We appreciate all offers of qualified and trained support. Safety for everyone is our highest priority.” 

If you'd like to help, DNR is asking those offers to be directed to the temporary coordination centers in Colville and Omak to allow DNR officers to remain focused on fighting active fires. The centers will organize training sessions for those not currently qualified to serve on the fire line. 

Beginning 7 a.m. Friday, Aug. 21, coordinators will review citizens’ offers for resources and direct them to where they can be most beneficial and without jeopardizing the safety of firefighters and the public. Even if a member of the public has sufficient credentials, deployment to a wildfire will depend on the availability of professional firefighter staff to accompany, direct, and ensure the safety of everyone concerned. The type of credentials that would be considered appropriate for a volunteer include “Red Card” firefighters and “Blue Card” equipment operators.

Centers are being established in two strategic locations, Omak and Colville. 

For information on helping at the Omak center, contact Jay Guthrie at 360-826-2546 or email CRC.Omak@gmail.com.

If you're interested in helping near Colville, contact Julie Sacket at 509-675-7847 or email CRC.Colville@gmail.com. 

Each station will be staffed during posted hours with DNR coordinators who will sign up volunteers and contractors, determine where their assistance will be of most help, and arrange  training in wildfire safety, where appropriate. Phone messages and emails can be submitted and will be reviewed during hours the coordination centers are not staffed.   

To expedite the processing service, potential volunteers should contact DNR coordinators at the above phone numbers or email addresses in advance with their desired role, existing fire qualifications, location, and contact information. 

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