Tight budget keeps 4th of July fire crew numbers down - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tight budget keeps 4th of July fire crew numbers down

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- Firefighters are preparing for a busy night. Yet for the department in Yakima, it does not mean a big increase in staff.

The Yakima Fire Department usually has a minimum of 19 firefighters on duty. Today the department has only one extra: Joe Burbank. He came over to station one from station five.

Yakima Fire Captain Rocky Willette says his department has to do more with less because of the tight budget. They used to bring in three or four off duty crews and pay them overtime. Now they are only bringing in one.

The county fire departments currently have a mutual response plan in place to help in other areas that need it.

"If there's a big fire in one of those districts or in the city, all the fire departments get together and mobilize to help each other fight those fires," Willette explains.

The whole staff is prepared for a long night.

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