Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters head east to battle blaze

August 21, 2012

By Staff

Eastside Fire & Rescue sent a tender truck crew east to assist fighting the Taylor Bridge Fire. Contributed by Eastside Fire & Rescue

Local firefighters made the trip across the Cascades to fight the Taylor Bridge Fire, which scorched more than 22,000 acres between Cle Elum and Ellensburg in recent days.

Eastside Fire & Rescue sent at least five local firefighters to the blaze. EFR is a party to a statewide agreement to send resources to respond to major wildfires.

Officials sent a Preston-based tender truck, used to carry water or flame retardant to remote areas, along with two career firefighters when the fire initially broke out Aug. 13, EFR Deputy Chief Bud Backer wrote in an email.

Since then, two more EFR firefighters have been sent to assist crews on the front lines. Josie Williams, EFR public information officer, is also in the area and helping to dispense information about the fire.

The state intends to reimburse the agency for firefighters’ time and any overtime costs needed to fill the firefighters’ positions back home. EFR also receives rental fees from the state for the vehicles used fighting the fire.

Backer said EFR’s response to the Taylor Bridge Fire should end up being cost neutral for the agency.

Overall, more than 900 firefighters continue to attempt to get a handle on the blaze. The firefighting team aimed to keep the fire from jumping across Interstate 90 in the south or state Route 970 in the north.

King County is also assisting neighboring Kittitas County in the fight against the Taylor Bridge Fire.

Officials sent four firefighting trucks, a water tender, firefighters and support staff to assist.

In addition, the King County Regional Communications and Emergency Coordination Center has been activated in a limited capacity to support the coordination of resources being dispatched to Kittitas County.

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