Idaho's National Interagency Fire Center Assisting With Deadly California Fires

Oct 12, 2017

The National Interagency Fire Center, housed in Boise, is playing a key role in getting resources from around the country to northern California to help battle deadly wildfires.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The National Interagency Fire Center, based in Boise, is playing an integral role in getting resources to Northern California to fight wildfires there that have claimed more than 20 lives.

Crews, fire engines, air tankers and a water-scooping aircraft have all been deployed to California in recent days by NIFC as wildfires ravage the state’s famed wine country.

“The primary jurisdiction is CalFire, so that’s the state jurisdiction,” says Robyn Broyles. “Federal involvement is playing a support role.”

Broyles is a spokesperson for NIFC. She says the federal agency’s job is providing California the manpower and gear it’s requested to help battle the blazes.

“We use what’s called the ‘Closest Forces Concept’ to do that,” she says. “Arizona, Nevada, Oregon – those resources, since they are the closest, they’re the ones that have been primarily sent over.”

While tools from California’s neighbors were the first to be tapped to help the firefighting effort, Broyles says resources from Idaho are also contributing.

As nationwide fire danger goes down with the changing of the seasons, Broyles says NIFC’s workload eases up. California is the agency’s primary focus at the moment, but they’re still juggling other commitments.

“California isn’t the only place that we have activity,” according to the spokeswoman. “In the southern area we’re still providing hurricane support. You know, we’re having to balance those resources.”

Containment on the northern California blazes remains minimal. The fires are some of the most deadly in the state’s history.

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