The life of a Klamathon firefighter at base camp

Yreka, Calif. —  If you’ve driven past the Siskiyou County Fairgrounds in the past week, you might notice a tent city has taken over the property. The fairgrounds is serving as base camp for firefighters working to put out the Klamathon Fire.

Depending on fire activity, firefighters could be out on the lines all day. That’s why many of them pitch their tents at the fairgrounds, so they’re ready to go when their next shift starts.

“Right now we’re at incident base camp for the Klamathon incident,” said Gabriel Lauderdale, public information officer for Cal Fire.

Base camp is where firefighters eat, sleep, and rest in between their 12, sometimes 24-hour shifts. Firefighters are provided all the basics at camp – including showers, bathrooms, and food.

“Breakfast and dinner prepared here,” Lauderdale said.

For lunch, they get a bagged meal – but this isn’t the same brown bag your mom used to pack.

“They’re bigger than what you would typically expect,” Lauderdale said.

4,000 calories in one lunch.

“Sandwich, fruit, dried fruit, jerky, broccoli, a burrito,” Lauderdale said.

An Olympian-sized meal for firefighters who may be burning off just as much, if not more. Cal Fire said the average firefighter out on the lines burns at least 3,000 calories in a day.

“If firefighters are out on the line, expending all this energy and they’re out for 24 hours, they need to consume all that to replenish all the proteins and everything that they’re breaking down,” Lauderdale said.

And as crews prepare to face triple-digit heat for the first time during this fire fight, crews are making sure a large supply of water and Gatorade isn’t far away.

“Make sure we go out and we get our firefighter’s rest before they get out on the line,” Lauderdale said.

While the Klamathon Fire is 65% contained, as of Wednesday night – officials said they haven’t made major cuts to the amount of firefighters on the lines.

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