BLM transfers handheld radios to rural fire agencies

The Bureau of Land Management Winnemucca District has announced it will transfer 45 handheld radios to 13 rural volunteer fire departments throughout northern Nevada to the Rural Fire Readiness Program.

The BLM says the interoperable Bendix King handheld radios, which cost approximately $1,200 each, will help volunteer fire departments, rural fire protection organizations and federal agencies cooperate during emergencies. The radios are considered “excess” federal property which means they are available to local cooperators under the Rural Fire Readiness (RFR) Program at no cost to local departments. 

According to a BLM press release, the number of radios to be transferred to each agency is as follows:

• Winnemucca Rural Volunteer Fire Department: 5 radios

• Winnemucca City Volunteer Fire Department: 2 radios

• Blue Mountain Rural Fire Protection Association: 4 radios

• Grass Valley Volunteer Fire Department: 3 radios

• Rye Patch Volunteer Fire Department: 3 radios

• Orovada Volunteer Fire Department: 3 radios

• Denio Volunteer Fire Department: 3 radios

• Golconda/Valmy Volunteer Fire Department: 4 radios

• Paradise Valley Volunteer Fire Department: 3 radios

• Wildfire Support Group Rural Fire Protection Association: 5 radios

• Imlay Volunteer Fire Department: 3 radios

• Lovelock Volunteer Fire Department: 4 radios

• McDermitt Volunteer Fire Department: 3 radios

“The RFR program is a valuable tool to help provide critical components to success in working together on wildland fire incidents,” said Donovan Walker, Interagency Fire Management Officer for the Winnemucca BLM and Santa Rosa Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. 

Winnemucca Rural Fire Department Chief Torrey Sheen said the radios will supplement the department’s current radio fleet of 6, and will be used on tankers so that the operator in command can communicate with the tankers who are filling brush trucks without being as close to the fleet. 

In a press release, officials said the Winnemucca BLM will also be transferring the first engine coming up for excess to the Rye Patch Volunteer Fire Department by the end of September. 

“This is the first time we’ve received radios, in the past we have gotten other materials such as phones, wildland firefighting gear and shovels, they’ve been pretty generous,” said Sheen. “It all helps out and means that we can use our budget money for different things to increase our effectiveness. 

The City of Winnemucca Volunteer Fire Department did not respond to inquiry for comment regarding the radios as of press time.