It's not just the firefighters on the lines who are putting in the long hours. For the past 62 years, a Prineville man has been a staple of fire camp.
“The first fire that I put out,” Don James, 82, of Prineville said Monday, “I was a lookout fireman in 1950 on the Umpqua (National) Forest.”
All these years later, the now-retired Forest Service employee is still feeding the men and women on the fire lines, as he has for the last few decades.
On Monday, he was on the ground feeding firefighters battling the Waterfalls 2 Fire on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
The fire has grown to 6,000 acres and as of Monday night was only 2 percent contained.
"We fed 550 (people to feed) last night -- three meals a day, two hot and one lunch,” said James.
He's responsible for making sure the contracted caterers meet regulations, when it comes to sanitation and making sure firefighters are getting enough calories.
James says fighting fires has come a long way in 62 years.
"We were just out in the brush, camped out,” said James. “The camp cook was usually the cook off of the forest. They sent us stateside, to town to get groceries, and we had some pots and pans in the warehouse. And we made do."
As long as wildfires continue to burn each summer, James says he has no plans to retire.
"This is my summer job,” said James, “I work one or two or three fires a year. I don't work the rest of the year. It just keeps me busy, and something to look forward to."
On Monday night, between 600 and 650 people we expected to be fed steak and onions after a grueling day of fighting fire.