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Sawtooth National Forest Incident Logistics

The Sawtooth Logistics Organization is comprised of 3 main components. 1) Supplies & Equipment are stored in a state of readiness at strategic locations known as "Caches". 2) Incident Base Camps are built and maintained by personnel with specialized skills, experience and capabilities to establish support facilities to support nearby emergency operations. 3) The Logistics organization also maintains the Weather Stations on the forest which provide critical information for long range planning, current conditions, drying or wetting trends and predicted fire behavior.

The Forest Cache network maintains equipment in a state or readiness, and a full stock of supplies, ready to be deployed to an emerging incident. This system is comprised of one Forest Cache and numerous local Caches, located at strategic locations throughout the forest. For rapid deployment some equipment and supplies are pre-packed into enclosed utility trailers called "Incident Trailers". During larger or more complex incidents, additional experienced personnel are mobilized to increase the delivery and staffing capabilities needed to get the equipment and supplies where they are needed. When the incident has no further needs, the equipment is refurbished and the supplies are restocked, ready for the next incident.

Larger, longer-duration and/or more complex incidents require a higher level of support. Basecamps are established near the incident to support the front-line personnel. The advantages of establishing basecamps are; 1) to reduced travel times, allowing the operational functions to spend more time "on the line" each day and reduce the potential driving-related accidents, 2) to provide a secure staging area for equipment, ready for a rapid deployment on the incident, 3) to provide basic life-support functions (food, water, sleeping areas and bathrooms,) further minimizing the off-incident duties of the personnel, increasing rest time, and 4) providing power, lighting, and shelter for support personnel to plan future needs at the incident, account for personnel, track financial issues, provide for a supply area, vehicle maintenance area, security and check points, and many more functions necessary to support 100 - 3,000 emergency personnel in the field. In a "nutshell" the establishment of a basecamp allows personnel to maintain maximum efficiency and production at the incident. The Logistics personnel are highly experienced individuals with the skill sets necessary to establish and maintain a temporary "town" at locations where no infrastructure existed days before. A typical schedule on an incident for these personnel is 6 am to 10 pm with 8 hours rest, 7 days a week for up to 2 weeks.

The Sawtooth N.F. maintains year round weather stations, located at permanent strategic locations, around the forest. These stations provide critical data for long-range planning, identification of drying trends and moisture accumulation for vegetation on the forest and allowing for short range prediction of local weather on incidents. The forest also maintains temporary (portable) weather stations that can be deployed wherever there is a need for localized short term data collection, predictive planning or projects. All these stations collect data minute-by-minute, transmit this data hourly to satellites which relay the data to a storage facility for retrieval on demand. This data is accessed by many agencies and universities for multiple reasons. The data provided is also accessed by local and regional television networks for local and regional weather forecasts.