Wildfires in Idaho were frequently in the news this summer, and Lake County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Randy Jones spent 21 days deployed there formulating a structure protection plan to save homes.
Jones, a structure protection specialist, was called to the Selway Complex just outside Elk City, Idaho. He serves on the Southern Area Incident Management Red Team with the National Interagency Fire Center. The fires at the complex included the Baldy, Wash, and Noble fires, which began due to lightning strikes in the Nez Perce National Forest. The area remains drought stricken, and the fire could be smoldering for months.
“A lot of the fires in that area will burn until winter snows put them out,” Jones said. “Basically we were just trying to keep them contained and keep them away from populated areas. Our strategy ranged from hotshot crews digging hand lines to bulldozers pushing lines. It’s one or the other, or both.”
The Selway Complex fire was at 94,000 acres and 13 percent contained when Jones and his team were released and returned home. He was among 160 firefighters brought in to manage the fire. Crews from as far as Australia and New Zealand also provided aid. The firefighters worked 12-16 hour days for up to three weeks.
To get more information about Lake County Fire Rescue’s operations, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/firerescue or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LakeCountyFireRescue or see www.twitter.com/lakefirePIO.