MERLIN, Ore. — A wildland fire camp is a literal hotbed of dirty laundry. With thousands of firefighters circulating in and out both day and night, it's inevitable that mountains of sooty, sweaty, soiled clothing pile up.
Enter the mobile laundry service. These laundry services roll into fire camps to help the fire and forestry personnel with all of their washing—sometimes operating for 24-hours to keep up with the sheer amount of laundry.
Clothing needs to be washed especially thoroughly in order to rid all of that fire gear of poison oak, which can hinder firefighters on duty.
"When you get those people that have an allergic reaction to poison oak, they bring their clothes in and their bedding...and you get to wash them and they get to go back and start feeling better," says Angie Farmer, Office Manager for L&C Company. "You know you've helped people in a situation, just made them feel more comfortable in a hot, tough, hard job. I can do what I can to help them be more comfortable, feel clean...you don't realize the importance of that until you don't have it."
The laundry service uses a specific blend of vinegar, baking soda and unscented laundry detergent to remove any trace of poison oak.