DUVALL, Wash. -- Firefighters in Western Washington are vowing not to let up until the danger from the devastating wildfires is over.
“I drove all night, stayed the night in the parking lot here, and I am ready to go,” volunteer firefighter Wyatt Keiken said.
The South Bend firefighter spent the night in the parking lot after driving seven hours to battle the Twisp fires that claimed the lives of three Washington firefighters.
“I saw they were short-handed; I had the qualifications,” Keiken said.
Loyalty is driving volunteer firefighters to put their own lives on the line.
“Remember that we are a family; we stand with you, we stand behind you,” Duvall Fire Chief Dave Burke said.
A third of Duvall's firefighters are on the front lines hours away in central Washington.
“These are extreme circumstances,” Burke said.
Fire departments from all across Western Washington have deployed dozens of firefighters and equipment to ground zero.
“We only have a couple of spare engines left, we have sent so many crews out,” Bellevue Fire Department spokesman Richard Burke said.
“It’s not behind us. There is certainly a lot of risk out there,” West Pierce County Fire Chief Jim Sharp said.
With the flames raging, firefighters don't have time for emotions, at least for now.
“Best attributes with people in our work has to be able to focus on work through the pain and then square up with the emotional side after it’s over,” Burke said.
The Seattle Fire Department just sent a team of specialists to provide mental support for those braving 18-hour days in the elements.
“We anticipate these fires are going to go on for some time,” Sharp said.
So these firefighters are in it together
“We are a brotherhood,”Keiken said.
Like soldiers marching into battle.
With so many local firefighters deployed hours away, many fire stations in different jurisdictions are working together to make sure their bases are covered.