Firefighters take precautions in extreme heat

Firefighters take precautions in extreme heat

SPOKANE, Wash. - Flames raced up the High Drive hillside Monday night causing homeowners to sweat, but not nearly as bad as the ones fighting the fire.

With temperatures soaring into the high 90's in addition to the flames, Asst. Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said extreme caution was used when it came to keeping firefighters safe.

"We talk about fire fighters being athletes and that's absolutely true and yesterday demonstrated that," said Schaeffer.

Firefighters are put on strict rest cycles, or what they call rehab. Rehab checks their hydration, nutrition and vital signs.

"There's a whole science behind when they are able to work and when they are not able to work," said Schaeffer.

With Spokane reaching triple digits, rehab was just as crucial for crews cleaning up the fire Tuesday as it was when they were putting out the fire Monday.

"There's four crews here and their constantly rotating through so that everybody gets a break," said Schaeffer.

So far this fire season there have not been any firefighter heat related illnesses.

"The only reason is because we take rehab seriously," said Schaeffer.

Which is saying a lot because this fire season has been anything but slow.

"They are much more complex and quickly moving than what we've seen before not to say that it's the worst year on record but it is sure turning out to be one of the worst," said Schaeffer.

Fire fighters have made the area as safe as they possibly can, but just for precaution they will keep a crew out until 8:00 o'clock Wednesday morning.