Local Fire Districts Can Turn to State When Big Fires Burn - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Fire Districts Can Turn to State When Big Fires Burn

YAKIMA, Wash.  --  Even though it's fire season, the West Valley Fire Department says there's no room in their budget for a devastating wild land fire, and that's the case with many local fire departments.  They all have a plan in place, though, to get help from each other, and the state.

Fire Chief Dave Leitch says, "If we did have a large fire that any fire district was responsible for, it would really tax their resources and could wipe them out."  Leitch says they don't have any money set aside for wild land firesm their daily operation budget has to cover it.

When a big fire breaks out, it takes heavy equipment and manpower to fight it, and that daily budget won't cover it.  That's why local fire departments team up, to help each other out.

"In Yakima County, we have a mutual aid program where all the districts will help out that same day."  he says.

If a fire lasts more than a day, the state can step in, and foot a lot of the bill.  Leitch says they can also bill someone for a fire, if the department can prove who started it.  He says a person's homeowner's insurance will likely have to cover the cost of firefighting efforts, if the fire was started on private property.