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Bolt Creek Fire: What the hell is a Type 2 🔥 team anyway?
Federal Interagency Incident Command team hit the ground running in Index; Initial attack team deployed seven teams staffed by 414 agents, five helicopter and 42 pieces of heavy machinery
Dateline - Index, WA
Western Washington is experiencing a phenomenon rarely if ever seen on the temperate, wet and populated side of the state: the arrival of a fully-kitted out Federal multi-agency wildfire response team.
To the soot stained folks in the Sky Valley, nothing was more welcome than NWCC Team 8 rolling in 400 people deep with five helicopters pacing a convoy of 42 heavy vehicle.
Rarer yet, Team 8 is a Type 2 team — jargon for a self contained fire and emergency response that deploys for only those most complicated longterm fire issues where the size and complexity of the blaze is likely to cross over with political, public relations, legal and multi jurisdictional agency problems that would’ve insurmountable for your local Gold Bar Fire Department.
I can tell you one thing for certain after spending three fire seasons in that million acre tinder box known as the Colville National Forest: these multi agency fire teams are real life heroes who are universally loved on the ground in the affected area.
Because residents quickly learn that they are dealing with capable people with the will and resources to, well, do shit right.
And doing it right is important because after the fire is out, they’ll be here putting the area back together.
I bet some of these guys and girls are still gonna be sleeping at the Monroe fairgrounds as Halloween approaches.
From Sky Valley Fire to NWCC IC Team 8
A quick primer on how this works. When a wildfire strikes, local agencies respond.
When the locals are overmatched, state resources arrive.
When the state is stretched, a Federal interagency team is requested and deployed.
During severe fire activity, there often is competition for finite resources -- there are only so many air tankers, hotshot crews, engines and overhead teams, and the demand can be great.
That’s where the National Multi-Agency Coordinating group (NMAC) that sits above these fire teams comes in.
Comprised of top fire managers for each of the federal and state partner agencies at NIFC (Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Association of State Foresters), NMAC provides broad oversight for national response efforts and sets priorities among geographic areas regarding mobilization of national resources.
Bolt Creek Fire Surges Past Local Control
On Sunday, as the Bolt Creek Fire grew into a massive longterm issue, a request was made for the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) to take control.
The NIFC’s regional branch maintains multiple deployable teams and after conducting an initial appraisal of the fire, NIFC scrambled a Type 2 Incident Command team, which is basically a plug and play movable emergency management system that will build a mini-city near the fire and deploy resource after resource like only the feds can.
As of Tuesday morning, Northwest Team 8 took over control of the fire. More on this story to follow
What is the Bolt Creek Fire?
The Bolt Creek fire is located 1.5 miles north of Skykomish, Washington. The fire was detected the morning of September 10th and spread rapidly that day. It escaped initial response due to strong east winds and challenging terrain. A Type 3 team managed the incident until September 13th, when it was turned over to Northwest Incident Management Team 8, a Type 2 team.