Badger Mountain a growing threat for firefighters

Badger Mountain a growing threat for firefighters »Play Video
RICHLAND, Wash. -- A small wildfire on Badger Mountain highlighted a growing worry for firefighters. Rescuers say there aren't enough trails on the mountain to cope with an emergency, So if another fire happens, it could spell disaster for anyone at Badger.

Just days ago, one bolt of lightning turned the side of Badger Mountain into a red-hot mess for firefighters. Luckily for fire crews, a heavy rain assisted them in putting out the blaze before it could spread.

But when it comes to Badger Mountain, local fire chiefs are scared of what could be waiting for them.

"Our biggest fear for Badger Mountain is people getting trapped on the mountain,” says Battalion Chief Tom Cole.
He has been fighting fires for most of his life. He says there are usually between 50 and 100 people on Badger Mountain at any given time-- and if a fire starts, there is no way for people to get down.

"If the lightning had struck a little lower on the mountain, there were people out here, they could have been trapped very easily and been burnt up on the hill, just like the fire fighters in Arizona," he added.

David Braich hikes Badger Mountain regularly and was there when the fire started.

Reporter: "Has the thought of wild fire ever crossed your mind? Does it even worry you when you're out there on the mountain?"
David: "Up until that point, no. It had not crossed my mind."

David says the problem with Badger Mountain is that there are no signs warning people of fire danger, or telling them what to do if there is one.

"Some instructions on what practices to follow once you're hiking and severe weather is on its way would be good, but I think the most you can do is give people instructions on how to handle the situation,” Braich says.

Unfortunately, firefighters tell me there is no good plan for hikers on Badger Mountain once a wildfire comes through.

Reporter: "Is there an actual protocol for Badger Mountain at this point?"
Tom Cole: "Right now, there is no protocol."

Tom says they would like to add safety zones, but at this point, all they can do is rely on educating the public. Making sure people know the weather before they hit the trails and to be aware of your surroundings.

Firefighters are currently trying to get fire danger signs installed along the trails at Badger. As of right now, there are no such signs in place.