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Tea Fire on call… Headed to Wyoming wildfire

The Tea Volunteer Fire Department’s type 6 engine was called up to the Badger Creek Fire near Laramie, Wyoming, this week.

Rick Baker, a firefighter from the department, drove the truck out to Rapid City the evening of July 10 with Trent firefighter Don Matthies and Aurora firefighter Kayla Ekeland. The truck has 300 gallons of water, pump, hoses for wildland firefighting, tools, saw, gas, foam and all the appliances to string out a hose.

Steve Oberle, first assistant fire chief, registered their truck on the national website last week, saying it was available with three personnel. The Rocky Mountain Dispatch Center notified the Great Plains Dispatch Center in Rapid City that they needed the truck. Rapid City called Oberle Tuesday afternoon and by Tuesday evening they were on their way to the fire.

“Right now, they are set to be there for a 14-day working period with two days travel, two days out and two days back,” Oberle said.

When firefighters report to a wildfire, they check in at the checkpoint. They get breakfast before they go out on the line and supper when they come back in from the line. They get sent out with a sack lunch when they go out for the day. They can be working 16-hour days.

Another Tea firefighter has already been called out to wildfires in Wyoming and Colorado. John Curtis has gone out with the Colton truck to two different fires in the past month.

Curtis started on the Badger Creek Fire and was there for four days before a rain shower came through. He came home for a few days and then went to the Weston Pass Fire in Colorado.

The Badger Creek Fire started June 10 two miles northwest of Mountain Home, Wyoming. That fire is about 21,310 acres in size and as of July 10 was 90 percent contained. Right now, there are nationally 149 personnel assigned to the fire.

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