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Chainsaws And Helicopters: The Sound Of The Washington Firefight

Anna King
Northwest News Network
Matt Eagen of Spanaway sharpens his chainsaw's teeth with a file so he can rejoin the First Creek Fire front.

Correspondent Anna King brings us the sound of the front lines of the First Creek fire near Lake Chelan in north central Washington state.

Firefighters are using helicopters to battle the flames. They bumble like bees from the lake to the fire carrying buckets of water.

Firefighters are also using chainsaws. After a few trees, they have to sharpen the teeth on the saw one at a time. They cut down burning trees they can’t put out so they don’t drop onto heads.

And they’re digging handline. That means clearing small strips of earth of brush and grass so the fire can’t jump as easily down and up hills toward homes.

Sweat, shovels and garden hoses. Avoiding angry bees, snakes and giant rolling boulders. This is what it takes to fight fires in the West.

Fires burning around Lake Chelan are now at 123, 000 acres.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.