Shaniko Butte fire camp up and running -- fast

'Fire on!': It doesn't take long to create 'instant city'

Shaniko Butte Fire Camp

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. - Regional crews are now in Warm Springs taking over management on the fast-growing Shaniko Butte Fire. When regional crews come in, fire camp needs to be set up quickle.

"Basically we all sit at home and wait for the big boss man to call us and say we got a fire," Aaron Campbell of DEZ's Firefighting Catering said Tuesday.

Once that call is answered, it's a mad dash to the fire line.

"Fire on!" Campbell said. "I was on the road by 2:30 A.M."

That's only six hours after he was called by his boss.

By noon Tuesday, the field hadn't been mowed. By 2 p.m., mowing was complete and ice, catering, showers, water and portable toilets were all being set up.
"From the time we pull in here to the time we're ready to start giving showers is two hours," said Skip Kaastad, mobile shower manager.

Showers are, perhaps surprisingly, not the most popular service at fire camp.

"Most of the hotshot crews are pretty beat up," Kaastad said. "We probably won't see those guys until they go home, because their wives and girlfriends insist they take a shower before they go home."

Fire camp is not a five-star hotel, but it has the necessities.

"There's two things that they want," Kaastad said. "One is food and the other is sleep."

"You know, they come back covered in dirt, looking miserable," Campbell said.

But camp crew knows it's nothing a good meal can't solve.

"Nothing like a good steak and potato to make you happy," Campbell said.

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