News

Buckley firefighters called for wildfire, quickly return home

By Shawn Skager

The Courier-Herald

Several members of the Buckley Fire Department, including Chief Alan Predmore, responded to a call from the Washington state wildfire mobilization force earlier this month, to aid in fighting the Dirty Face wildfire, burning 25 miles northwest of Leavenworth on the shores of Lake Wenatchee.

"The state mobilization is a plan administered by the Fire Protection Policy Board," Predmore explained. "It's a mobilization, on a statewide basis, when local resources aren't adequate to meet the need."

According to Predmore, the Buckley Fire Department received the call for assistance on Aug. 6.

"We were originally dispatched at 7 p.m. on Saturday," he said.

"We had to organize with trucks from Gig Harbor, Eatonville, University Place and Pierce County No. 18, outside of Orting."

Predmore, as strike team leader, helped organize the trucks and crews that arrived outside Leavenworth.

"We went to the base camp, a staging area at the Icicle Creek fish hatchery just outside of Leavenworth," he said. "We got there about 2 a.m. got some sleep and went through briefings and safety reviews. We got our people checked in and got assigned and then they decided they weren't going to use us so they sent us home."

Predmore said his team was called in to fight structure fires, in the case the fire reached inhabited areas.

"The direction that the fire (originally) was headed, they thought this would be a need," he said. "Knowing how long it takes to call in the resources they called us. Then conditions changed and they decided they didn't need us."

According to Predmore, the last time the Buckley department responded to a statewide assistance call was in 1997.

"It's not too often anymore that we get called," he said. "It's not so common anymore, the mobilization. It most often gets implemented for wildland fires."

Also responding from the Buckley Fire Department were John Justice, Angie Riggsby, Johan Olson and Cory Brown.

Currently more than 1,800 firefighters are assigned to wildland fires in Washington state.

For the Dirty Face fire, 35 engines and 11 water tenders were called in to fight the fire, which consumed more than 1,000 acres.

Shawn Skager can be reached at sskager@courierherald.com.

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