Firefighters worry about dangerous season as dozens of fires spread crews thin
PUYALLUP, Wash. — Firefighters throughout the region scheduled extra personnel during the abnormally dry holiday weekend, but countless fires and call volume still spread authorities thin.
“There was a period of time we had so many fires going on. We had no available units and we had calls pending,” said Assistant Fire Chief for Central Pierce County Fire Ed Hrivnak.
Central Pierce County Fire worked 78 separate fires during the three-day holiday weekend. Three of those blazes were at homes and cost an estimated $100,000 in damages.
Hrivnak said fireworks injured only one child during the busy weekend. He also warned that this is usually just the beginning of a very busy part of the year.
"What I’m concerned about is we’re tired from one weekend. This is the start of the fire season. We had an exceptionally early start to the fire season. We have to maintain this tempo into August, September and possibly October," said Hrivnak.
Authorities say fires could overwhelm staffs all over Western Washington and they could cost more than money.
"What if the same time a call is coming in for a heart attack or CPR or some sort of life threatening emergency?” Hrivnak said.