SCC Colville Center Serves as Fire Incident Command
Posted: 8/27/2015 11:33:35 AM

August is typically a slow time at Spokane Community College’s rural learning center in Colville. But regional wildfires have transformed the center into a flurry of activity.
On Sunday, Aug. 16, SCC Colville Center Manager Donna Jo Smith was contacted by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and asked if the campus in Colville could serve as Incident Command for the Colville Complex fire.

Hours after an agreement was signed, trucks, supplies and people began arriving. Thirteen classrooms and offices became the headquarters for this effort. More than 300 firefighters set up camp, pitching tents throughout the campus. DNR wildfire teams brought in temporary restrooms, showers and cooking facilities, and within hours the college campus was transformed.

“We have tremendous gratitude for the entire inter-agency team that has assembled to fight multiple fires in the area,” said Ryan Carstens, president of Spokane Community College.  “We are a dedicated community partner, and so I am pleased that our Spokane Community College Colville Center has been able to serve as the Incident Command post and I am so impressed with the way our college staff have stepped forward to offer support to the wildfire fighting effort.”

The command center at the SCC Colville Center has continued to expand from local fire departments and the Washington DNR to additional units from across the state, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Australia and other areas. This week the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, the WA National Guard and the U.S. Army have arrived and set up operations on and around the campus.

The U.S. Army sent a battalion of about 500 firefighters who are camping on the SCC Colville Center grounds and the Colville Junior High School athletic fields, directly behind the SCC Colville Center, said Smith.

Community Colleges of Spokane serves a six county region and is reaching out to students and employees from its rural centers in Colville, Ione, Newport, Republic and Inchelium who may have been affected by the fires. To date, none of the centers have been evacuated, but the SCC Republic Center is just five miles away from the fire and is prepared to evacuate if necessary.  Several SCC Republic Center students have been evacuated from their homes at this time.

The Community Colleges of Spokane Foundation has established an emergency fund to help students impacted by the fires. The funds can be used for books, supplies, clothing or anything that will help the student continue to attend school.

“The CCS Foundation is here to support the mission of the colleges and the students we serve, and we will do whatever we can to help those outlying areas that have been affected by the fires,” said Tony Higley, CCS Foundation executive director.

An initial $10,000 has been set aside for the emergency fund, and anyone who wants to contribute can do so through the CCS Foundation, 509-434-5123.

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Editors: View the CCS Flickr page for photos from the SCC Colville Center, https://flic.kr/s/aHskiuzHEr. All pictures are available for your use.

Posted: 8/27/2015 11:33:35 AM by Global Administrator
Tags: PressRelease, SCC
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