'Neighbors helping neighbors': Boise firefighters travel to other states to assist wildfire efforts

Boise Fire Department
Posted at 3:47 PM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 17:49:11-04

BOISE, Idaho — Wildfires in Idaho haven’t been as severe so far this season, but other states like California, and Arizona are seeing large flames throughout the state.

In 2018, the Boise Fire Department started to send its firefighters to other states to assist on large wildfires as part of a national program.

“Really the program is based on, part of a larger program which is called the National Response Plan and more importantly the national response framework,” Division Chief Of Wildfire for the Boise Fire Department Tony Piscopo said. “The theory behind that is that no one agency across the nation can manage some of these larger disasters that we see and that would include wildland fires.”

In the month of July, Boise Fire had 12 members on wildfires in California, Arizona, Utah and Idaho and they deploy in two-week-long shifts.

“We currently have three members deployed in California and one member on the Moose Fire outside Salmon in Idaho,” Piscopo said. “We routinely send folks out throughout the season based on need and based on what we can afford to let go from the city.”

With members being sent out, it doesn’t decrease resources available through the 911 system. Plus, going to other states helps educate and train firefighters in different types of terrain and offers a helping hand apart of a national effort.

“Really it comes down to neighbors helping neighbors," he said. "As the national response plan points out, no one agency is able to handle these large events and although we haven’t had a very robust fire season here yet, there's always that opportunity for us to look for help from other regions and other states as well."