Six Rivers National Forest

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Fortuna Interagency Command Center

Providing Emergency Services to Many

Fortuna Interagency Command Center provides emergency dispatch services for the Six Rivers National Forest, Redwood National Park, Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Humboldt-Del Norte Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF), some resources of the Arcata Field Office of the Northern District of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), numerous volunteer departments, law enforcement officers for the Forest Service and BLM and two ambulance services. Additionally, the center serves as the single resource ordering point for the Hoopa Valley Tribe.

The Forest Service employs five full time dispatchers. According to Rick Addy, Emergency Command Center Manager, "A Forest Service dispatcher is available 24 hours each day, seven days a week. We're here to provide whatever services our customers need to ensure the safety of Forest Service employees and the public."

The Forest Service dispatchers provide the point of contact for all fire training on the Forest. They work as members of Regional and National training teams and serve on Regional committees. The dispatchers are responsible for verification of bills, cataloguing emergency equipment rental agreements, collecting and analyzing daily weather readings, coordinating the Forest's remote automatic weather stations, and computing daily fire danger rating, along with many other duties.

Fortuna Interagency Command Center is truly an interagency center, being staffed full time by the Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Dispatchers are familiar with procedures for both agencies and willingly assist each other during incidents. As center manager Rick Addy says, "There are no lines here, our job is to provide service regardless of agency affiliation."

In 2003, the Fortuna Command Center handled nearly 6,900 calls, with 410 of them related to wildfires. CDF took the lead on suppressing 233 of these fires, while Six Rivers National Forest was the lead on 90 fires. (The additional 87 fires were BLM, Redwood National Park and local agency responsibility.) In 2003, the Six Rivers National Forest experienced 61 human caused fires that burned 478 acres. The largest of these, the Friday Fire, occurred in June and burned 389 acres on the Lower Trinity Ranger District (for more details see the Friday Fire article in this insert). The majority (17) of human-caused fires occurred in the month of July. There were 18 lightning-caused fires on the Six Rivers National Forest during the year, burning a total of 22 acres.

A lightning storm in early September ignited well over 100 fires in Del Norte, Humboldt and Trinity Counties. The largest of these, the Canoe and Honeydew fires were in the Direct Protection Area of the Humboldt Del Norte Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, burning over 22,000 acres.

The Six Rivers National Forest also supported large fires across the nation, especially in Hawaii, Montana and southern California, by providing firefighting personnel and equipment. In addition to providing personnel and equipment, the Forest Fire Management Officer and Deputy Fire Management Officer provided leadership for the control of wildfires, hurricane relief, volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters as members of Incident Command Teams. Additionally, the Forest Service has trained other agencies nationwide in incident command and is an integral part of the Homeland Security Plan.

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USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.