The Bureau of Land Management has transferred ownership of a wildland fire engine to the Fort Bidwell Volunteer Fire Department, a small Modoc County department that stands ready to assist the BLM and other agencies with wildfire response in remote northeast California, just south of the Oregon border.
Earlier this year, the BLM also donated surplus fire engines to the Milford and Standish-Litchfield volunteer fire departments in Lassen County under the Rural Fire Readiness Program.
“We really appreciate this fire engine,” said Fort Bidwell Fire Chief Mark Royer. “This donation will greatly improve our service to the community since it will be Fort Bidwell’s primary initial attack fire engine.”
The fire engine is a four-wheel drive pumper capable of handling the rugged terrain of the northeast California high desert and has room for a five-person crew. It has a 500-gallon water tank and the ability to spray water or firefighting foam while moving, an important feature when fighting fast-moving rangeland fires.
“We are happy to donate this engine to the Fort Bidwell volunteers,” said Dereck Wilson, manager of the BLM Northern California District. “It has served the public well and still has plenty of service life.”
The fire engine was provided to the volunteer department under the BLM’s Rural Fire Readiness Program, which provides equipment to qualifying fire departments that collaborate with the BLM and assist with fire response on public lands. Under the program, local departments apply to receive BLM fire engines and other equipment declared surplus when the agency purchases new equipment.
The engine went into service in 2001 with the BLM Applegate Field Office and was based at the West Valley Fire Station in southern Modoc County. It was deployed to numerous local and regional incidents including the Biscuit Fire that burned nearly 500,000 acres in northern California and southern Oregon in 2002.