Connell has only had a paid fire chief for the last few years. Chief Chris Schulte has been a firefighter for pretty much his entire adult life. But he doesn't just lead Connell's volunteer-only crew. He's the man in charge at some of the most complex fires out there.
Schulte is one of very few Type I Incident Commanders in the nation. That means he's the man in charge at events like the big fires near Lake Chelan. The team he manages spent nearly a month-straight on the fires lines this summer. Schulte said in Chelan it's a major logistics challenge. Firefighters have to be transported either by air or boat to get to where they're needed around the lake.
Schulte believes fire seasons of late or likely the new normal. He said historically, the last roughly 20 years have been back to back the worst on record and 2015 could end up beating them all.