Warm Springs firefighters battle heat and flames

Water, a little shade cool crews in temps above 100

POSTED: 6:24 PM PDT July 22, 2013    UPDATED: 6:57 PM PDT July 22, 2013 
WARM SPRINGS, Ore. -

The temperatures over the last few days have been unbearable for many Central Oregonians. But it's the firefighters on the Sunnyside Turnoff Fire on the Wawrm Springs Indian Reservation who are really feeling the heat.

"It's supposed to be in the 90s, mid to high 90s today," Fire Information Officer Clay Penhollow said Monday.

If fire isn't hot enough by itself, rising temperatures make firefighting conditions that much more difficult.

"You know from going from 90, 95-degree weather to 105, to being close to the fire, it gets pretty intense," said Engine Operator Virgil Windyboy.

"Pretty hot -- it feels like your clothes are about to catch on fire," said rookie Warm Springs Fire Management Firefighter Karlen Yallep.

A slight breeze brings a bit of relief from the heat, but it hurts the effort, causing flames to run.

So like the fire, water helps crews battle the heat.

"Drink lots of water. You know try to stay hydrated. Try to eat a lot of fruit, and shade up when we can," said Windyboy.

"We drink our water in the evening time, so that way were well hydrated for the coming day," said Logan Hammond a squad boss for Warm Springs Fire Management..

"They take ice out with them throughout the day, and sometimes we have to do deliveries," said Penhollow.

When it comes to staying motivated, it's pure adrenaline and a love of the fight that keeps them going.

"You don't think what's going on ," Windyboy said. "You're just trying to get the flames knocked down, protect the homes and protect our home."