BOISE --With all the fires burning throughout the state, many of the fires are getting larger than what one agency can handle. Across the Gem State, from the northeast to the southwest, fires are taking a toll and straining the finances of the agencies fighting them.
Wednesday Governor Butch Otter issued a statewide emergency declaration. That means the Idaho National Guard is expecting an in-state mission.
"We're ready to go,” said Col. Tim Marsano with the Idaho National Guard. “We've gotten the clearance from the governor. We've got the state disaster emergency declaration done. Now, it's just a matter of getting a mission assignment from the Bureau of Homeland Security.”
The Bureau of Homeland Security is the agency that takes all of the requests from those fighting fires across the state.
"A lot of resource shortfalls are being experienced out there by fire managers and local first responders, and so they're looking to find some help to get some resources out there to help them fight the fires and to provide for public safety," said Rob Feeley with the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security. "Right now we're looking at finding the appropriate resources and getting those shipped out, and that's going to happen today.”
And that could come from a number of state agencies. One of those, the Idaho National Guard, is standing by.
"We have a number of capabilities that are ready on hand and ready to go at a moment's notice." said Marsano. "That includes personnel, communications packages, transportation assets, trucks to move personnel and equipment around. Whatever is needed, we're ready to go."
The last time Idaho called on the national guard was five years ago when the fires of the summer of 2007 caused a lot of problems throughout the state and specifically for Blaine County.
"Serving our communities in which we live, serving our state, serving our neighbors is one of the most important and rewarding things that the national guard does," said Marsano.
Once the national guard gets an assignment, Marsano says they can have boots on the ground in as little as just a few hours. That assignment likely to come on Friday.