Crews Fighting Pole Creek, Bald Mountain Fires And Fatigue
As of Friday night, the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires had burned more than 68,000 acres. Crews from all over the region made their way to help the massive firefighting efforts.
Spanish Fork Fairgrounds has essentially become base camp for all the crews. It’s where they’re showering, eating, and sleeping when they can before they head up into the hills.
For most of us, tents are meant to be temporary.
“It’s been a long season,” said Dennis Donovan, a food unit leader with the fire incident management team.
He and other fire crews don’t know how long they’ll call the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds homes.
“We never know,” he said.
Donovan has his work cut out for him. He’s not on the front lines of the fire but he’s supporting those who are.
“We’re going to be feeding all the camps from here so that be about 600 starting tomorrow,” he said.
It’s grueling work, in a fire season that seems to never end.
“We knew over the winter that things were going to be very dry and it was going to be busy,” said Jason Curry, with the State Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
“I think everybody has been a little surprised at how long it’s been busy.”
These aren’t normal 8-hour work days or a 5-day work week.
“Now that we’re into months five and six, it’s added up to the point where it could compromise safety and we know that is the reality of accumulated fatigue,” Curry said.
Many fire crews don’t even get the luxury of a camp.
“Yeah, you’re going to sleep in the dirt,” Curry said. “You may have a tent or you may not.”
Dennis Donovan may not be on the front lines, but he will be here as long as it takes, giving these fire crews a tiny taste of home before they head towards the flames.
“It’s been a long season and who knows if it will go longer or it may start raining,” Donovan said. “We just never know.”
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