U.S. Department of Energy transfers brush fire truck to Shoshone-Bannock Tribes at Fort Hall
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently transferred through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) an Idaho National Laboratory-operated brush fire truck to the fire department of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation.
The well-maintained, low-mileage 1997 Pierce engine is capable of spraying 250 gallons of water per minute. It has an 800-gallon water tank and a 30-gallon foam tank with a compressed air foam unit.
In anticipation of the upcoming wildfire season in eastern Idaho, DOE-Idaho manager Robert Boston presented the fire truck and keys to Fort Hall Business Council Chairman Ladd Edmo at a ceremony attended by council members and Fort Hall Fire Department staff earlier this winter. Edmo and council members expressed gratitude for the kind gift.
DOE maintains mutual aid agreements with regional firefighting jurisdictions whereby the INL Fire Department and eastern Idaho fire departments come to each other’s aid when fighting large fires, especially wildland blazes. DOE and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes have a positive working relationship and agreements in matters of mutual interest, including environmental sustainability, anthropology and cultural resources, and STEM education.
Edmo said he appreciates the relationship the Fort Hall Business Council has established with DOE. He thanked the Fort Hall Fire Department for their work and Fire Chief Eric King for his leadership. King noted the Fort Hall Fire Department covers over 500,000 acres on the reservation, and since most of it is wildland, the fire truck will be valuable to them.
Fort Hall Business Council member Darrell Dixey said the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and DOE work hand in hand as neighbors. Council member Nathan Small said the fire truck is important because it has been difficult for the council to budget funds to purchase expensive vehicles.
Boston said DOE is always looking for opportunities to support emergency capabilities, and he wants to make sure the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes have the resources necessary to respond adequately to any event.
“Over the years, the Tribes have responded to fires on the INL Site through the mutual aid agreement, providing us with firefighting resources that we really needed, so the transfer of this fire truck to the Fort Hall Fire Department will benefit INL, too,” Boston said.
DOE distributed another brush fire truck through the Idaho Department of Lands and U.S. Forrest Service to the North Bannock County Fire District, which serves northern Bannock County adjacent to the Fort Hall Reservation.
The Fort Hall Fire Department serves more than 3,000 Shoshone-Bannock tribal members and non-tribal residents on the reservation, and they respond when called out to other areas. One of five federally recognized tribes in the state, the Fort Hall Reservation is in southeastern Idaho on the Snake River Plain north of Pocatello.
The North Bannock County Fire District provides fire services for unincorporated areas in North Bannock County. Fire services includes fire prevention, suppression and inspections.