Montesano firefighters deployed to Nakia Creek Fire

It’s the department’s third 2022 wildfire deployment.

A pair of firefighters from the Montesano Fire Department were forward deployed to help fight the Nakia Creek Fire near Portland after it expanded explosively on Sunday.

Blake Bradshaw and Lucas Salstrom responded to a request from the state for assets, shipping out at 2:30 a.m on Monday morning, according to a social media post.

“Apparently that fire was like 150 acres and jumped to 2,000 acres real quick,” said Montesano Police Chief Brett Vance, acting as public information officer, in a phone interview. “This is our third deployment this year.”

The two firefighters are currently operating roughly 100 miles southeast of Montesano.

“They are part of our wildland fire team. They were able to do it. They were two that said, yeah, we can go do this,” Vance said. “They’re doing good. They are currently at the Larch Mountain Correctional Facility. They’re on structure protection, keeping everything wet.”

Deployments to combat wildfires are a minimum of 72 hours, with a maximum of 14 days, Vance said. None of the department’s deployments this year have gone longer than five days.

“This is the first year we’ve been mobilized. Being mobilized three times this year — we’re not having the problem here in the Harbor,” Vance said. “So it’s nice to be able to help our neighbors.”

The two deployed with the department’s wildfire brush rig, a truck built on a pickup truck frame and better suited to the requirements of combating wildfires than a regular engine.

“When you think of a fire truck, you think of a big fire truck,” Vance said. “(This truck) can get into some tight areas. It’s a lot more mobile. It has tools on it for cutting lines. It’s smaller and more mobile for getting into tight spaces.”

Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or