The Warm Springs Fire Management dispatch center becomes a busy place during the fire season. Extra personnel come on board when a wild fire is burning on the reservation.
Fire Management dispatch is fortunate to have an experienced team to rely upon during fire season.
Bob Medina is the dispatch center manager, working with Chuck Hudson, who worked previously as a police dispatcher.
Lee-Ann Tufti and Annette Polk also come on board during summer, along with Harry Phillips.
“There is a lot of experience here, and we appreciate that,” Medina said.
Harry Phillips worked for several years at the Warm Springs Elementary School, starting in the 1960s, and worked during summer at dispatch. So he brings many years of experience in fire dispatch.
During a wild fire, the center coordinates the response of multiple agencies, from Fire Management and BIA Forestry, to law enforcement, the State Fire Marshal, aircraft, etc. There are up to 19 channels in operation during an incident.
The main focus is safety, followed by containment of the fire. The response technology is always being upgraded.
A new development will be installing GPS devices in the fire response vehicles, allowing them to be tracked by the dispatch team.
The tribes are working toward development of fire applicants of unmanned aerial systems, and Fire Management and dispatch will be key partners in this effort.
Last week, Fire Management made a gesture of appreciation to the dispatch team, presenting shirts with the tribal fire response logo, and Fire Management hats.