BLM Vale district employees hands off the keys of a fire rig to the Nyssa Rural Fire Department. From left: BLM’s Mark Johnson, Nyssa firefighter Chad Miller, BLM’s Mike Spelman, Nyssa Fire Chief Eric Menchaca and Assistant Chief Marvin Seuell. (Submitted photo)
VALE – The Bureau of Land Management Vale District recently donated a wildland fire engine to the Nyssa Rural Fire Department as part of the federal agency’s new Rural Fire Readiness program to support local wildland firefighting partners.
Brent Meisinger, who helps coordinate the rural program, said the purpose is to help enhance local rural departments’ wildland fire response capabilities.
“Cooperative partnerships between the BLM and local and rural fire departments, including the Rangeland Fire Protection Associations, are crucial to remote wildfire response in private, state and federal lands,” the BLM said in a Feb. 14 press release.
The fire engine transfer increases the Nyssa department’s fleet of wildland trucks to four, according to Eric Menchaca, Nyssa Rural fire chief.
He said that will help his department prevent fires from spreading to BLM land.
“Before we only had three brush trucks, and it’s hard to get 18 members them – they’re three-man trucks,” said Menchaca, who is also the Nyssa Fire Department chief and works full-time for Treasure Valley Paramedics.
In addition to four brush trucks, Nyssa’s rural station has a two-man water tenderer.
Last year, the Nyssa Rural Fire Department received 147 calls, and Menchaca said about half of those calls were for wildland fires.
“The BLM works closely with the Nyssa Department to suppress wildland fires that threaten communities, property and, in some cases, natural resources,” said Bob Narus, Vale District Fire Management Officer.
Local fire departments and rural fire protection associations that meet certain requirements can apply to receive vehicles, equipment and supplies through the Rural Fire Readiness program during the fall and winter months, according to Meisinger.
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