GLENDALE, Ore. — Incident Management Teams are required to take days off. They can work up to 14 days straight. Depending on the what company they work for, some crews get one day off after 14 days and others get two days off.
The Incident Management Teams camped out at Glendale High School has been there for 17 days. Fire officials say they are in the middle of transitioning their crews. While at some fire camps the entire incident management crew will be sent home, and a new one will come in and replace them, but the crew at Glendale will rotate taking days off and the original crew will stay in place.
The time off is referred to as rest and recovery time, and is something officials say everyone at camp needs to have.
“When this thing took off it really charged hard day after day, and not only is it physically fatiguing, but it’s mentally fatiguing,” said Deputy Incident Commander Link Smith. “You get in the mindset — you’re going to catch a fire — there’s a sense of accomplishment there, and there was no sense of accomplishment on this one for days and that just really mentally challenged folks.”
Incident Commander Dennis Sifford just took his two days off. Originally from Roseburg, he was able to go home, see his family, and catch up on some sleep in his own bed instead of a tent. He says the first seven days at camp are the worst.
“Mentally you are trying to get your head around it and what is is, and physically you are putting in some hours and you get tired,” said Sifford.
Officials say on average, an Incident Command Team is sent out to fires for seven to 12 days. Crews have already been at the Douglas Complex for 17 days and could be there for 28 total depending on the fire.