Powerline 2 Fire UPDATE
Monday October 8, 2012
Dave LaFave, Incident Commander
FIRE STATUS & RESOURCES
Cause: Under Investigation
Total Personnel: 183
Serious Injuries: None Crews: Six 20 person
Water Tenders: 2
Helicopters: 2 available
THIS IS THE LAST UPDATE FROM THIS FIRE. WE WANT TO THANK THE GOOD PEOPLE OF SHELTON FOR THEIR SUPPORT AND HOSPITALITY DURING OUR STAY HERE IN YOUR COMMUNITY. PLEASE NOTE WRITE UP BELOW REGARDING ROLE OF CORRECTIONAL CREWS ON THIS FIRE.
Current Situation: Containment is at 85%. Mop up continues today up to several hundred feet inside the fireline. An infrared heat detecting device was used last night to identify hot spots so they can be extinguished. All state mob engines will return to their home units today. Some resources will be sent to a small fire near Eatonville this morning to assist there. Management of this fire will be turned over to a smaller type 3 team of approximately 100 people at 6 PM tonight. They will work through the week and finish out the fire. Fire information will be posted by Central Mason Fire District 5 on their website at www.mason5.org. They can be contacted at 360-426-5533.
Weather: Fire weather remains favorable. Higher humidity to 39% with temperatures around 70 degrees. Light NE winds 3-6 mph. Similar conditions are expected tomorrow.
Correctional Crews in the Fight at the Powerline 2 Wildfire
Fifty-five adult and ten juvenile offenders have been pulling 14-16 hour shifts working on the fireline and cooking meals for over 200 firefighters on the Powerline 2 fire since it started on October 4. The offenders are in the Department of Natural Resources Work Camp Program (DNR WCP) with five camps around the state. The crews working on the fire are from Larch Camp near Vancouver.
The program takes carefully screened offenders into the program spending six months to two years at the camps. The offenders “learn through work” under the supervision of DNR supervisors during the day and the Dept. of Corrections when off the clock. One of their duties includes working in the fire program as trained, qualified firefighters who are respected for their outstanding work ethic. They are a large part of the available workforce on fires with around 300 men in the program, down from over 500 in 2008 due to budget cuts. Offenders consider it good duty when helping on fires. The program also includes three mobile kitchens staffed by offenders which have been out on fires most of the summer and have fed fire camps of over 1,000 people. They are well known for turning out delicious, nutritional meals. The program also includes juvenile offenders typically 15-18 years old, ten who have been making lunches for Powerline 2 firefighters. They are from the Naselle Camp.
Other learned skills are automotive repair of state vehicles and heavy equipment, small engine repair, welding, and working on state forests and recreational sites. They are also available for general work projects for other state agencies and public entities. The offenders are paid an average of $.40 cents per hour while they work. The cost of a 10 person fire crew is less than half the cost of an equivalent contract hand crew. Meals are supplied at considerable savings verses the cost of a contract kitchen. The recidivism, or re-offending rate, of those that go through the DNR WCP is lower than those that do not. Along with tangible skills that can be applied by the offenders after their release, the program instills pride, demonstrates discipline and promotes respect for authority. They are proud to have played a part in the suppression of this fire. The DNR WCP has been historically successful yet little known program since it started at the Larch Camp in 1956.