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SJ Island firefighters to help battle wildland blaze near Wenatchee
San Juan Island Fire & Rescue on Saturday dispatched three firefighters and two vehicles to Central Washington to assist at a fire located near Wenatchee.
The “Colockum Park” fire, in Chelan County was first discovered early Saturday and is reported to have grown to an area covering more than 1.5 square miles. Two buildings have reportedly been destroyed by the blaze.
Lieutenant Tad Lean of SJIF&R will be working as a “Strike Team Leader” trainee. Strike Team Leaders are responsible for numerous firefighters and fire engines while working on the fire lines. Firefighters Michael Henderson and Joseph Foriska will be operating a “brush truck”, which is a pickup-sized fire engine designed for battling wildland fires.
As a side note, Washington State Ferry System agreed to delay the sailing of the ferry Kaleetan for five minutes so that the emergency responders would not be delayed for several hours.
San Juan Island Fire & Rescue participates in the statewide Fire Mobilization System, coordinated by the State Fire Marshal. The system reimburses participating agencies for their costs.
The firefighters that participate gain valuable experience that they bring back and share with the rest of the crew. In addition, should a major fire threaten San Juan County, the State Mobilization System will be available to send assistance.
Staffed predominantly by volunteers, San Juan Island Fire Rescue operates seven fire stations, numerous fire engines and other vehicles, as well as the region’s only fire boat. In 2012, the fire department responded to 241 calls for service.