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Inkom firefighters help fight record-setting western wildfires

Inkom Tactical Water Tender approaches active fire on both sides of Rock Creek Road - Badger Fire, Cassia County, Idaho
Inkom Tactical Water Tender approaches active fire on both sides of Rock Creek Road - Badger Fire, Cassia County, Idaho
Inkom Tactical Water Tender refills from small creek, Slink Fire, Slinkard Valley, California
Inkom Tactical Water Tender refills from small creek, Slink Fire, Slinkard Valley, California
Inkom Tactical Water Tender stages for action on the Badger Fire, Cassia County, Idaho
Inkom Tactical Water Tender stages for action on the Badger Fire, Cassia County, Idaho
Inkom Tactical Water Tender stages at the Lost Fire, northeast Nevada
Inkom Tactical Water Tender stages at the Lost Fire, northeast Nevada

INKOM, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Volunteers from the Inkom Fire Department helped fill critical staffing shortfalls as the record-setting fire season across the western US stretched available wildland fire fighting resources.

A total of five Inkom firefighters joined the Northern Nevada Strike Team stationed out of Elko, Nevada in the last week of July and remained with the strike force until it was disbanded in mid-September. 

During that six-week period, the Strike Team responded to numerous wildfires in northern Nevada stretching from near Wendover in the east and north of Pyramid Lake in west, and the final response for the Strike Team was the Slink Fire south of Lake Tahoe in eastern California.

“The firefighters from Inkom were great to work with and were very professional,” Northern Nevada Task Force Leader Jim Farrell said. “I would like to see if we can get the crew from Inkom to join our Task Force again for next year’s fire season.”

After the team was disbanded, firefighters from Inkom were reassigned to the Badger Fire near the Magic Mountain Ski Resort in southern Idaho to finish out their seventh week on the road. 

The need for wildland firefighters has remained critical with numerous large fires in California, Oregon and Washington, and after a few days, two more firefighters were called to the North Complex Fire in northern California last weekend. They are expected to remain in the field for at least two to three weeks before returning home.

“I’m grateful for the dedication of the firefighters we have here in Inkom, and that they are recognized as professional and well-trained by their supervisors on these deployments,” Inkom Fire Chief Johnny Ketner said. “It’s taken years to get the equipment and training we’ve needed to expand our capability and response.”

The Inkom Fire Department is responsible for fire protection in the City of Inkom and the Jackson Creek Fire District. 

The department is staffed by volunteers who are paid for each fire call and is always looking for additional community members willing to train for and respond to structure and wildland fires.  

If you are interested in joining the Inkom Fire Department, contact the City of Inkom office at 208-775-3372.

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