Behind the scenes: After a fire is put out

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Almost everything our firefighters use to battle the current wildfires needs to be repaired in between every fire. That's where the NIFC warehouse in Boise comes into play.

Workers at the warehouse clean and fix every piece of equipment used in fires in southern Idaho, Utah and Nevada.

Michael Brown oversees the cleaning and fixing of tools. He says his warehouse handles every single thing out on the fire line.

"Everything from pulaskis and shovels, pumps and chainsaws," Brown says, "Even the laundry."

That's right, even laundry. Every fire suit worn has to come back for cleaning and inspection.

Warehouse workers check and clean everything from huge water tanks to tiny hose valves.

"It has to be top grade before it can leave here," Brown says.

And almost every tool that comes in needs refurbishing.

Brown describes how tools usually come in after being out in a fire as, "Completely covered in dirt and ash, dull, sometimes the handles are broken off."

But fixing them means a lot of money saved.

"A new handle's about $8, probably about 15 minutes of labor," Brown explains, "A new one, I think, is around $85."

And they're able to salvage about 99-percent of what comes in.

"It saves the government a ton of money, Brown says, "They don't have to buy new equipment every single fire. This is equipment that's been used over and over and over again, it's just that we refurbish it to make it like new."