Local firefighters leave home for Substation Fire

Local Firefighters leave home for Substation Fire

OREGON -- The massive Substation fire has burned more than 50,000 acres and left one farmer dead. Now firefighters from Umatilla County and the Kennewick Fire Department have left home to help.

But fire districts say they must be careful about how many people they send away, in case of any big fires in their districts.

“They were in good spirits and ready to help the communities out when they left here yesterday afternoon,” said Scott Goff, Umatilla County Fire District 1 Fire Marshal.

When your neighbor needs help--you answer the call.

“It's a neighbors helping neighbors kind of a thing,” he said. “And we certainly make our share of requests for our neighboring agencies to come and assist us.”

Umatilla County firefighters left Wednesday to join others on the fire line in Sherman County.

“I don't think the guys we sent over are overly tired yet,” Goff said. “I'm sure over the next few days that will start to wear on those guys a little bit.”

Goff said they were asked to send help earlier in the week, but couldn't afford to send resources because of fires at home.

“With the red flag conditions that we have now, and the winds, and then the majority of our agency is volunteer staffed, it's definitely a balancing act,” he said.

Goff said it takes several agencies to assist a neighboring county.

“So that we don't have any one, particular agency that's significantly shorthanded,” he said.

Kennewick Fire Captain Chris Hutsell also made his way to the fire Thursday.

“I was just ready to come down and help!” Hutsell said.

Hutsell said he's helping to manage the resources at the fire line.

“What I see right now, it's getting some control to it,” he said of the fire.

While firefighters leave to help neighboring counties on fire, firefighters that stay behind hope nothing too big happens at home.

“One spark can start a large fire,” Hutsell said. “That's my one message I would send back to folks in the Tri-Cities is--be careful with fire.”

Firefighters said they don't know how long they'll be at the fire line.

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