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Rubicon Team mobilizes to help fire efforts

Rubicon Team mobilizes to help fire efforts

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Wildfires continue across the state, and a problem fire crews are facing is the upcoming school year and losing their current engine crews. They combine their military background with first responders. Team Rubicon uses the same incident command system as the Bureau of Land Management to fight the fires across Idaho.

Alex Becher, a Rubicon firefighter, said, "Know when to be scared. Know when to run."

When a disaster hits, Team Rubicon responds.

"One of the first operations that Team Rubicon did was in Haiti," Becher said.

Now, four members from that same team have come to Idaho.

Jesse Bender, fire information specialist for the Idaho Falls Fire District, said, "They formed together because they saw an opportunity for them to use their unique skill set and their understanding of complex disaster operations and recovery missions."

Preparing for this mission will be like no other. They'll carry a 25 pound pack filled with tools, plenty of water, and one very important item: a fire shelter, which is basically a silicon and foil sleeping bag. 

Becher said, "It's a last resort. it's a last ditch effort to keep ourselves alive."

Which can be more difficult since this isn't your typical house fire.

"Urban firefighters operate inside buildings, and smoke collects in the building and has no wore to escape," Becher said. "In wild land firefighting, we're in the open air the smoke just goes up and follows the wind," into south eastern Idaho skies.

Team Rubicon will be sent out to relieve some of the engine teams.

"They are going to be available for initial attack," Bender said. "Which means any new fires that were to start in the area. This is allowing us to continue us to support those who are experiencing a heavy fire season right now."

Firefighters will be building fire lines and helping those that have lost.

"The rest of the time, you do your job," Bender said.

The team left Idaho Falls Saturday morning for their outposts. Two are going to Soda Springs and two have left for Dubois. You can follow their efforts on the the BLM Twitter page @BLMIdahoFire.

The red cross says they appreciate the efforts to send supplies to families affected by the fires, although they are unable to transport the goods. They ask that you make a financial donation instead of items.

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