USA– Wash. -For the first time in state history, the Department of Natural Resources reached out to the public for help fighting fires, and the public has responded in large quantities.
For many of volunteers it’s not so much about fighting fires as it is protecting their neighbors.
“I just wanted to have that spirit of duty and help out the local community,” Jamar Rowland, DNR volunteer, said.
On Friday, phone lines were constantly busy, voicemail’s full, and hundreds of e-mails consumed DNR after they announced they needed help.
“It’s great to see such community support,” Brett Walker, DNR, said.
But it’s a dangerous job and DNR can’t allow just anyone on the fire lines.
“We want to make sure anyone we send out there on the fire lines at least has basic training to get out there and do the job and do the job safely,” Walker said.
Most people at DNR’s training Saturday were certified equipment operators, or owners working to become blue card certified. Training involved going over need to know information for when they’re out on the fire lines.
“Blue cards are the folks that are running the equipment typically it’s a dozer and an operator and those really are the resources we are trying to find and are in great need of,” Julie Sackett said.
Saturday’s newly certified blue card volunteers will be placed on-call, and if need-be could find themselves on the fire lines as early as Sunday once all their paperwork is processed.
“We’re all working for the same goal, to get these fire out,” Walker said.
“It goes to show you when disaster strikes there is going to be a response, ” Rowland said. “Everyone is willing to pitch in a little bit.”