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Pullman Fire Departments Assists with Wildfire Season

FIREMAN SHORTAGE PKG.jpg

Due to wildfire threats in Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency because of the number and personnel needed.

The Pullman Fire Department currently has four people deployed to wildland fires.

The Pullman Fire Departments deploys fire fighters while still maintaining fully staffed shifts and the correct number of people to respond to emergencies. The department makes sure the city of Pullman is protected first. In the state of Washington there are more than 10 wildfires burning as we speak.

So far, this season several Pullman fire personnel have been deployed to help fight some of those fires.

The Pullman Fire Department currently has four people deployed to wildland fires.

That's an entire shift of people and the department is already understaffed.

Right now in the city of Pullman four firefighters are responding out of one station and three are responding from another.

But officials say that's not enough.

"Well it's a federal wide law so it's just two in two out always work in pairs that's the goal to work in pairs, if you have a known rescue that number can drop from four to three, “said Pullman Fire Chief Mike Heston.

But if a life isn't at risk the three-crew firefighters must wait for a fourth.

It can take anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes for additional crews from the other station to arrive.

The department would like to hire an additional 2 to 4 fire fighters so Station 2 can respond without waiting for additional personnel.

But first they need city council approval.

"We're still in discussions we're going through the budget process right now to see what opportunities are there," said Heston

In the mean time residents can help themselves and fire departments by properly putting out cigarette butts and if you’re in the woods try to avoid off road activities or shooting targets.

"100 feet around your house you know things that are combustible, piles of wood, racking up some leaves, gutters, cleaning out your gutter on your house you gotta remember once a fire happens embers can fly up in the air and then go quarter to half a mile in the air and land on your property," Fire Chief Heston said.

There is also a burn ban on all land protected by the Department of Natural Resources in Washington.

That means in all parks campfires are only allowed in designated campfire pits.

*footage obtained through training exercise*

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