Rough Fire at nearly 40,000 acres at a cost of $12 million to fight

As the Rough Fire grows in size, the cost of fighting it also grows.
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- They say an army travels on its stomach; so too the army of firefighters battling the Rough Fire. Feeding more than 1,600 personnel is just part of the firefighting effort.

Fire Information Officer Michelle Eidam says it is a big job. "We've got to make sure they have food, water, showers, toilets, everything possible," she said.

Doing all that requires setting up a command center, here turning a pasture in Squaw Valley into a small city with tons of food, water, and nearly 150 professional staff to figure it all out.

"In addition to that, how do we get resources in here? How do we track who's here? We have to have a finance division. We have to have logistics for everything. It is a huge operation," Eidam said.

The cost of all this, plus the actual firefighting is now more than $12 million and growing. Since most of the fire is burning on federal land, the federal government should be picking up much of the tab.

But State Assembly Member Jim Patterson is concerned because money for firefighting is often taken from other forest funds. "We are robbing Peter to pay Paul, and we think we can fix that," he said.

Patterson and other California legislators are asking the U.S. Congress to guarantee the cost of fighting this fire won't be taken from funds used to prevent forest fires. The biggest costs are yet to come, with another command center being put up near Dinkey Creek and additional camps, equipment and food. null
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