TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Michael Blume was one of two Tucson firefighters to respond to the Bighorn Fire, last June.
"We sent one medic truck with two paramedic firefighters. It was definitely eye-opening to see the scope and scale of the resources needed," said Blume.
Fighting a wildfire is a job that requires specialized training and equipment.
"During the time of Bighorn, we didn't have enough qualified members to send our own truck, nor did we have the apparatus," said Tucson Fire Department Engineer, KP Maxwell.
Tucson Fire Department has since changed that. It's certified 12 of its crew to respond to any future wildfire.
"Each person has to be Red Card qualified. There is a minimum number of classes and a refresher each year. It also involves fire shelter deployment training and an annual pack test," said Maxwell.
With Prop 101 funding that passed in 2017, the department purchased a new truck. Maxwell said the vehicle is something the City of Tucson has never had before. It was built specifically for wildfire response.
During Arizona's peak fire season, the truck and its crew will stay in Southern Arizona. Starting in July, the truck has the opportunity to fight fires even beyond our state.
"Once the monsoons hit and the fire danger goes down here, our wildland team will become a national resource that is available to go California, the Rocky Mountains or the Pacific Northwest," said Maxwell.