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Overton Man Assisting Wildfire Fight In Washington State

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Overton Man Assisting Wildfire Fight In Washington State

One Overton County man is working his third wildfire response of the summer in the pacific northwest.

Livingston Airport Committee Chairman Jason Duke also serves as a Geographic Information Systems Specialist for the Pacific Northwest Incident Agency. Duke said he works around the clock creating maps for both responders and the general public being affected.

“Nothing makes you feel better than putting a plan together and in place to contain a fire,” Duke said. “And able to save a community or to save a school or save a church or to save a whole line of houses, that took a whole line of people pulling together that didn’t know each other in really tough conditions.”

Duke is currently working a 25 mile fire in Washington state. Duke said the nation is currently at the highest alert level for fires, indicating areas with limited resources are being hit hard by fires.

Duke said for him, it does not matter where a fire is because people are people across the United States.

“I worked a fire one time in Montana and there was a large Amish community that had to be evacuated,” Duke said. “There were not enough people in that area to work on the evacuation so all of us were mobilized to help on that. Of course they wanted to take their animals with them and you can’t move real fast when you’re trying to lead a herd of animals down a road. You get real time payment for your work in that you see that you’re helping folks.”

Duke said that like most responding to wildfires, this is not his only job. He said he tries balancing his duties as Chief Data Officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services while working long days.

“Typically we’re staying in a tent, you’re out near the fire breathing smoke day and night,” Duke said. “You’re sleeping a few hours a night. We typically work 17 hour days but typically you’ll go beyond that and work 20 hour days.”

Duke said he started this work during the 2010 Gulf oil spill. He said work can range from COVID responses, natural disasters, man made disasters and even terrorism.


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