Fighting fires requires lots of energy -- and in turn, lots of calories
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ)-- Wildland firefighters are out on the front line for days on end, and in order to do their jobs effectively, they must receive the proper nutrients and stay hydrated.
Wildland firefighters consume roughly 3,000 to 6,000 calories a day, which is two to three times the calorie intake for the average American diet.
Forest Service physiologist Dr. Joe Domitrovich said Thursday they design firefighter meals similar to those of an endurance athlete.
"We see about 50 percent of their food is carbohydrates, about 37 percent is fat, and about 13 percent is protein," Domitrovich said. "Just like we see with our endurance athletes, we want to be up about 60 percent carbohydrates, because that's the macro-nutrient, or the fuel that our body loves and can really use during exercise."
Some Central Oregon businesses also help feed firefighters.
Big Ed's Artisan Bread in Bend provided Oregon fire crews 2,400 desserts within just a few days.
That includes 800 brownies, 800 pumpkin bars and 800 chocolate bars, all individually hand-wrapped.
Owner Merri Chilcutt says they try to give back any way they can.
"It's really important that our firefighters have nutrition while they are out there," Chilcutt said. "A lot of these firefighters are on 30 to 40 days straight of working. They eat a lot of ready-to-eat meals. This gives them something that is home-baked."
Due of COVID-19, wildland firefighter meals are individually packaged and delivered to fire camps, to maintain social distancing.
Domitrovich said the amount of calories firefighters consume while doing their demanding, strenuous job should not be consumed by the average person.