SPOKANE, Wash.-- The Inland Northwest is beginning to cool off after a hot summer.
Temperatures exceeded the 90 degree mark more than a dozen days in Spokane, which kept first responders swamped with everything from brush fire to heat related illnesses. They say it’s been one of the busiest seasons in years.
The city fire department deals with 10 percent more calls everyday during extreme heat.
Big fires require much of the department’s time and manpower, which leaves holes in staff throughout the city.
Losing firefighters to especially huge fires like the one in Cle Elum is a frightening reality the local fire department deals with more and more in the summer months.
“We really have to fight with those resources to keep them here. We have no control. [The Department of Natural Resources] has to deploy resources where they’re needed most. It’s scary,” Brian Schaeffer of the Spokane Fire Department said.
Neighbors say losing local manpower scares them too.
“It makes you concerned that if something does happen, how quickly could they respond?” Spokane resident Mike Nelson said.
The fire department says a jump in emergencies increases response times.