Monday, July 28, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Fire base camp acts like mini-town

DSC_0217

U.S. FOREST SERVICE Situation Unit Leader Brian Ebert works at his computer in the Kyburz Incident Command Center at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. Democrat photos by Pat Dollins

By
From page A1 | July 26, 2013 |

For all the drama of the Kyburz Fire, those watching it only saw part of the story.

For behind it, out of sight and out of mind, were all the logistics that went into fighting the fire.

On July 12 those logistics were on display at the Kyburz Fire Incident Command Post that was temporarily set up on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

Operating much like a mini-town, the command post showed how much behind-the-scene work goes into subduing a major fire and how much manpower, supplies and planning goes into that effort.

In charge of all the logistics was the Northern California Interagency Management Team 2 (NCIMT), which took official control of the Kyburz fire on July 9 at 6 p.m. Up until then, the Kyburz fire, which was detected on Monday, July 8, was being fought by the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire and local fire companies.

Made up of a wide variety of staff from federal, state, county and local agencies, NCIMT teams are called upon to manage large wildland fires and address the most complicated safety, fiscal, planning, operational and logistical issues.

According to Michelle Puckett, public information officer for NCIMT, initially a command post was set up at Sly Park. But as the number of firefighters swelled to over 800 in addition to the 75 members of NCIMT, operations were moved to the fairgrounds.

The Marshall Building at the fairgrounds became the hub of the command post or “city hall.” Yet even on Friday, after the fire was officially contained, the room was still abuzz with NCIMT staff working on laptops, consulting maps and handling all the planning and paperwork needed to oversee cleanup operations and keep the remaining firefighters supplied with food, clothing, pay checks, medical care, shelter, equipment and anything else they needed.

Surrounding the building in grassy areas of the fairgrounds were pockets of tent cities where firefighters slept. Lined up in trailers elsewhere were portable showers, toilets and washing stations as well as truckloads of extra clothing, hoses, Gatorade, valves and nozzles.

With some fires, they also bring in sleep trailers and clothes washers. “We’re a home away from home,” said Puckett.

Meals took place in one of the largest buildings on the fairgrounds. Inside were row after row of chairs and tables with food served cafeteria style. Efficiently run, Puckett said they could serve 250 people in 15 minutes.

Keeping the firefighters well fed during a fire is a big priority since they often work 16 hours a day and need 4,000 to 5,000 calories a day. According to Puckett, food and supplies used daily by a 1,000 personnel firefighter crew include 750 pounds of meat, 100 gallons of coffee, 23,000 drinks (water, Gatorade, juice), 2,000 pints of milk, 950 breakfasts, 1,400 bag lunches, 1,000 dinners, 250 dozen eggs, 20,000 AA batteries, 250 MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), 2,000 pounds of ice, 600 rolls of toilet paper for 150 bathrooms, 300 plus loads of laundry per day, 25 hand washing stations, and 24-26 miles of fire hose inspected and rolled.

Fortunately the Kyburz fire crews were able to get a hot breakfast and dinner in addition to a packed lunch every day. With some fires, food has to be airlifted in and crews sleep on-line.

Constant planning, gathering information and strategizing was an ongoing operation for NCIMT throughout the fire. To keep up to date on what was happening, different areas of the fairgrounds were set up for meetings. One area was used to hold planning meetings twice a day for the incident commander and staff. The other was an area for briefings that were held once or twice a day, usually at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. After the fire was put out, they also did an action review that included examining what went well and what could have been done better.

Tim Fike, liaison officer for NCIMT, said their plan of attack required dividing the area around the fire into separate districts with different crews assigned to each. After a fire break was created using air tankers, hoses, bulldozers and other equipment, the crews moved in systematically from all directions to surround and snuff out the fire.

He said regular updates on their operations were published on a Website called Inciweb.org. The Website also provides ongoing information on other fires around the country including maps, road closures, and photographs.

Covering a total of 572 acres, Fike said the fire was caused by a flat tire on a trailer that caught fire on Highway 50. However, the fire continues to be investigated.

By Thursday evening, the fire had been contained and the mop up operations were under way, including checking for smoldering logs and taking measures to control erosion.

“Other agencies were incredible in catching the fire in the first 24 hours,” said Fike. “They did an amazing job. Cal Fire, local fire agencies, the CHP, Sheriff’s Department, Caltrans and PG&E worked with us as well as Sierra Pacific Industries. The cooperation was amazing.”

By Saturday, the command post had been disbanded, the fire crews had left, and the mini-city created by NCIMT had vanished, only waiting to be resurrected once again at the next fire.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or dhodson@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter

Comments

comments

.

News

 
County’s chief lawyer: No Brown Act violation

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

General Plan workshop today

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

 
Two growth control initiatives get green light

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Sand Fire burns more than 4,000 acres

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Fatal accident in Camino

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Agricultural Crop and Livestock Report released

By Ross Branch | From Page: A3

 
35 people displaced in Tahoe hotel fire

By Tahoe Tribune | From Page: A3 | Gallery

.

Opinion

The balancing act: Toxic waste spreads

By Larry Weitzman | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Bee-ing silly

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Letters

Want more water?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Refugee crisis

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Letter to Speaker of the House

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
GDPUD misinformation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

At the crossroads

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Under the Scoreboard: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Schedule: July 28 – Aug. 2, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Roundup: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Camp experience is ‘priceless’

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Speedway races cancelled

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
El Dorado doubles up on Pro Players

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Local spiker shines

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

 
Sports Scene: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

.

Prospecting

A beautiful day at Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm

By Cathy Barsotti | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Foothill gourmet: Things get corny

By Donna Brown | From Page: B2

Bipolar Insights: From point A to point B

By Marcia Rose | From Page: B2

 
Cool time at Cowboys and Cornbread

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
As we were: Recreation district grows

By Ken Deibert | From Page: B4

Cantare names new director

By Cantare Chorale | From Page: B10

 
After 5 Club to meet

By Senior Day | From Page: B10

.

Essentials

DUI Log: June 25-July 9

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 14-16

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Divorces

By Charlotte Sanchez-Kosa | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

 
.

Obituaries

.

Real Estate

.

Comics

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

American Profile Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Monday, July 28, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8