OMAK, Wash. (AP) — Washington officials say more than 3,000 people called and emailed in response to the state’s request for volunteer help with wildfires.
The bad fire season has been severely straining resources.
The Department of Natural Resources on Friday opened centers in Omak and Colville to coordinate offers of help from trained, qualified volunteer firefighters and from people who have and can operate machinery like backhoes and bulldozers to dig fire lines.
DNR spokesman Joe Smillie says the centers are sorting through the names to see what people have to offer. He says most are probably not qualified to help right now, but about 200 equipment operators are expected to get training in deploying emergency fire shelters and other basics on Saturday.
Deployment to a wildfire will depend on the availability of professional firefighting staff to escort and direct the volunteers.
The Washington Department of Natural Resources issued the following statement:
Volunteer to Fight Wildfires
Omak City Hall
2 Ash St. N
Washington State Department of Transportation
440 N Hwy 395
DNR Pacific Cascade Region Office
601 Bond Rd.
How can you help?
Volunteer with your local fire department
Become a DNR firefighter – recruitment for regular positions begin each January
Veterans may also consider an unaffiliated organization, Team Rubicon, which organizes veterans for disaster response.
If you do not have wildland fire training or certification, please work through the local service organizations that are providing valuable assistance to communities and those serving on the fire and behind the lines. Find information about volunteering at Washington Wildfire Resources.
– See more at: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/WildfireVolunteer#sthash.lsiuAvl5.dpuf