Deputy Fire Chief Gains Experience Managing Wildfire - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Deputy Fire Chief Gains Experience Managing Wildfire

YAKIMA, Wash. - Deputy Fire Chief Charlie Hines doesn't have to jump into his gear and out the door every time there's a fire in Yakima.  But he still plans to be ready when something big hits.

"What Katrina taught us is we better be prepared to be on our own for a while." he says.  Hines adds that before Hurricane Katrina, many cities thought help would be on the way, right away. 

"But sadly, Katrina taught us that's not the case." he says.  That's why he took the opportunity to join an Incident Management Team on the Bear Gulch Two fire, near Lake Cushman in the Olympic National Forest.  An IMT comes in when local fire and police departments are overwhelmed by a disaster. 

Hines responded to many incidents in his 30 years as a Los Angeles firefighter, but now, he knows how to plan for such incidents.  "You focus on what the needs are, everything from chow, to hot shot crews, to helicopters.  And you come up with what's called an incident action plan." he says.

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