Radios, sports drinks, and lots of water help keep fire crews going

fire radios
A few of the several hundred radios used by firefighters on the Colockum Tarps Fire in central Washington. Photo: DNR.

Boxes and boxes of portable, two-way radios are provided to firefighters on wildfire incidents. Among the numerous back-up personnel that DNR and other agencies send to fire camps are radio technicians whose job is to make sure that all radios are calibrated to the proper frequencies so that fire crews from an array of agencies — sometimes, from different states — can communicate on the same frequencies.

As an example of the resources engaged in fighting a major wildfire, crews working on the recent Colockum Tarps Fire that consumed more than 84,000 acres went through: 75,000 AA batteries, 22,000 utensils, 2,132 cases of sport drinks, lots and lots of water, and about 10,000 garbage bags —  in just seven days. (We recycle or donate as much as possible. For example, the used-but-possibly-still-OK AA batteries used in the radios are donated to local charitable and social service organizations for their clients to use.)

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