Local task force to help battle Washington state wildfires

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SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Urban Area Incident Management Team was pressed into service in Washington state Sunday to assist with the numerous wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.

Capt. Joe Amador of San Diego Fire-Rescue said the team departed for Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Wash. They were reportedly assigned to manage a base of operations with 20 fire engines and 10 water takers.

Managed by SDF-R, the task force is comprised of 15 members from different fire departments and emergency agencies in San Diego County.

According to Amador, the team provides emergency management locally and has never been sent to a national incident.

“This is the first time a local government Incident Management Team anywhere has been ordered by the national resource ordering system to provide mutual aid support,” Amador said in a release. “Deployments to support national emergencies were not envisioned as the primary mission of the team when it was formed.”

Eight of the crew members hailed from SDF-R, and the others come from Heartland Fire and Rescue, the county Office of Emergency Services and the fire departments in Coronado, Chula Vista, and Carlsbad.

Sixteen wildfires broke out in central and eastern Washington, which destroyed more than 200 homes, threatened thousands more, and covered nearly 900 square miles.

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