Wildland Firefighter Talks About Complexity of Battling Wildfires

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A firefighter from southern Indiana knows what it’s like to be in the thick of fire. Jeremy Kolaks is a trained wildland firefighter based in the Hoosier National Forest.

Earlier this year, he was sent to California to help fight a fire very near the Blue Cut fire that is raging now.

Jeremy is often called to fires all around the country. Thursday, we spoke with him about how different it is fighting fires in California.

“It’s a complex deal.  For me, coming from Indiana, it takes me a couple fo days to catch up to that complexity.  In Wyoming, Oregon, or more remote areas, there’s you, trees, and the fire. In southern California, there’s you, brush, fire, highway, houses, aircraft, power lines, all the other things that make situation complex.  Sometimes it really takes me a couple of days to get used to that level of complexity. Those fires in southern California run big and run fast in a big way. They will eventually lay down where you can enact some suppression actions on them — usually after a few days running because they get to where they’ve exhausted weather and fuel,” Jeremy says.

Jeremy says despite the big California fires, the wildfire situation nationally is not as bad as it has been in past years.

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