Fire crews from Thurston and neighboring counties are being called upon to aid in the response to the summer’s wildfires in Central and Eastern Washington.
Assistant Chief Tedd Hendershot of the McLane Black Lake Fire Department is coordinating the regional response to the large fires. Fire agencies from Thurston, Lewis, Grays Harbor, Pacific and Mason counties have been sending a steady stream of firefighters and equipment over the mountains.
As of Thursday afternoon, two South Sound strike teams — each made up of about 12 firefighters, five brush trucks and a tender truck — were responding to the Chelan fires. Two tender trucks were responding to fires near Omak, and three engines had been sent to other fires.
“We’re mobilizing as fast as we can manage,” Hendershot said. “When you have more and more popping up every day, it’s hard to put people on the ground.”
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Hendershot has responded to several fires himself — including ones near Walla Walla, Cheney and Roosevelt. On Monday, he expects to ship out again. He’ll call the Washington State Patrol to find out where he’s needed.
“We’re all getting pretty wiped out,” Hendershot said.