Fire Stories

Fire stories from the national parks highlight events, incidents, and the like, associated with fire and fuels management, as well as fire education, technology, partnerships, and more. Stories highlight work related to Department of the Interior initiatives as well as local and regional initiatives.

A group is gathered in a room with a ribbon waiting to be cut in front.

Park and forest leadership gather to celebrate the new Teton Interagency Dispatch Center.

Teton Interagency Opens New, Long-Awaited, Dispatch Center

Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming
Cohesive Strategy—Response to Wildfire*

Teton Interagency Dispatch Center (TIDC) dispatchers cut a ribbon March 8, 2013, to celebrate moving into their long-awaited new facility. The new center, which is on the second floor of the Grand Teton National Park Headquarters building, was designed to accommodate and provide sufficient space for the current staff and temporary detailers who are brought in during the summer season. The new center also boasts amazing views of the Tetons!

The interagency dispatch center, which supports the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming State Forestry and three Wyoming counties, has humble beginnings in a room slightly larger than a closet, where the Grand Teton dispatch office supported park operations, including law enforcement, search and rescue, EMS, structural fire, and maintenance.

In 1994, the dispatch office moved into the park’s maintenance building to a space that became known as the "cave." The cave was expanded from one small room to two when the park and forest dispatch operations co-located in 1998. The programs merged in1999 and Teton Interagency Dispatch Center was born.

A group poses for the camera in a small room.

Dispatchers pose for a photo in the “cave” in 2009.

The “cave” was a cramped space for the seven permanent and three seasonal staff that managers envisioned. The “cave” eventually also became windowless as additions were made to the main building. The ventilation system often drew exhaust fumes in from the auto shop next door.

As responsibilities grew over the years, the TIDC staff grew accordingly. With the new, larger facility, TIDC has six dispatch consoles and two administrative positions that will better accommodate the eight permanent staff, six seasonal employees and numerous initial attack dispatchers who detail during the season. The new center has work space, more storage and a small adjacent meeting room. One of the most important benefits of the new dispatch center is that TIDC will be able to host expanded dispatch in the nearby larger conference room. This will be a great asset during fire season.

“Expanded has always been far away (14 miles) at the Forest Service office in Jackson,” said Center Manger Heather McDonald. “We couldn’t meet face-to-face with them when they had questions. Work will definitely flow more smoothly with them co-located with TIDC.”

“The cave was a very isolated space,” McDonald said. “This new space is much more inviting for fire managers or incident commanders. At times during search and rescues in the winter, the dispatch center also served as the incident command post, or at a minimum, as a gathering place for those who needed information on the SAR. That was always very cramped.”

For the past almost two years while the new facility was under construction, TIDC moved to a swing space in another building. It was larger than the “cave” and had windows, but it was still temporary. Funding to support construction and outfitting of the new dispatch center came from a variety of sources, including the Department of the Interior Wildland Fire Facilities Fund, the USDA Forest Service IT Replacement Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The new center is in the same wing of the administration building as fire and law enforcement.

"We would like to thank everyone over the years who had a hand in making this possible from the inception, to the planning and design, to the construction and our final move," said Center Manager Heather McDonald. “We are very excited to be in our final space.”

Contact: Heather McDonald, TIDC Center Manager

Email: heather_mcdonald@nps.gov

Phone: (307) 739-3303

*This story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.