By Jennifer Henion
Triplicate staff writer
The very remote portions of the Yurok Tribal Reservation, virtually unconnected to the rest of the world, will now be better protected from fires.
A grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay for and provide training to the Yuroks' 15 volunteer firefighters.
The training in fire behavior and suppression, hose and ladder operation, CPR and first aid is at least a first step toward building up fire protection for the area.
"The things that most people take for granted, like having a fire department aren't available there, so this is very important. We're really proud of our planning department for putting this together," said Troy Fletcher, the executive director of the Yurok tribal government.
Congressman Mike Thompson also played a role in winning the $18,300 federal grant.
The money will be used to bring a Firefighter Academy team to the Reservation.
"There are public agencies that are responsible for firefighting in this area, but the response time is too great to adequately protect the structures and people upriver," Fletcher said.
About 800 tribal members live in remote areas of the reservation. There is no telephone service, electricity or modern water system to use for fire suppression.
Fletcher said the growing Yurok government is working diligently to build more infrastructure.
He said there are about 15 volunteers who are very eager to build up a volunteer fire department and learn the skills they need to carry out the job.
"They already meet on weekends and weekday nights. They are very anxious to develop the department, but they are basically untrained. This is just a first step of many," Fletcher said.