This is an excerpt from the Redding (CA) Record Searchlight
(writer – J Corbelli) It will give you some idea of how firefighters out in the wildland are fed. These are details about the commisary set up at one of the California wildfire incident command posts:
“Cal Fire has served 50,000 breakfasts, 70,000 sack lunches”
There are times when food lines at fire camp seem to never end. But the slow crawl pays off. Set up in trailers, the kitchen area, or chow hall, is the driving force of any fire camp. While eating out of a trailer might not sound appetizing, the “customers” seem to like it. “After a few days at camp, the food line becomes routine. Like a beacon, the hand-washing station is the final reminder that food is moments away. A young man sits in a chair counting as people climb the stairs of the trailers, where a crew of 12 state Department of Corrections inmates prepare plates assembly-line style, occasionally glancing up with a smile.
Coming down from the breakfast trailer, the fruit bar — loaded with apples, bananas, pre-sliced peaches and cantaloupe — sits to the right; juice machines, coffee and coolers of milk to the left. Canopies cover dozens of chairs and tables.
Since June 22, the food-supply unit has served more than 50,000 breakfasts and dinners and more than 70,000 sack lunches.
Eggs are served every morning at breakfast. To save time, the eggs come prebroken in 40-pound bags. Last Sunday morning, for example, 12 bags of eggs were cooked and served. On days when pancakes are the entree, about 4,000 are dished out (two pancakes per serving), along with the same amount of sausage links or bacon. Every morning, breakfast goers consume nearly 250 gallons of milk. About 100 pounds of coffee are brewed in vats every morning to supply the entire camp, not just the kitchen. For lighter options, cottage cheese, oatmeal and a selection of cold cereals are available. And that’s just breakfast. Dinner numbers run about the same. Sides usually include potatoes, corn or mixed vegetables and the condiment-loaded salad bar. Entrees include such dishes as spaghetti, barbecued ribs and roast beef.
The food unit serves 3,000 lunches every day. The meal contains 8 ounces of meat, 12 ounces of liquid (usually juice), fruit, dessert, a nutrition bar and other snacks, usually chips or corn nuts. Roughly 10 percent of the lunches are made with vegetarian alternatives. By last Sunday, food costs at the Anderson camp were close to $1 million, each meal costs about $24.