Hot Shot Catering fuels McKinley firefighters
What do hotshots working the McKinley Fire eat? This summer, it's homestyle food — thanks to a new catering crew.
Hot Shot Catering in Fairbanks started three years ago, but this is its first year feeding wildfire crews. The company secured a contract with the state to provide the meals — a big change from the military-style rations Alaska's firefighters are used to.
"We're used to getting in and getting dropped off somewhere by helicopter, riverboat or whatever and then getting your military rations for three days. No joke — three days. That's the Alaska standard." said Kale Casey, lead information officer for the Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team managing the McKinley Fire.
But since the McKinley Fire is accessible by road, Hot Shot Catering trucked in a taste of home on several trailers.
"We just had to get on the road, come on down. It was about a six hour drive." said Stacey Conroy, one of the owners of the company.
Conroy says she tries to get creative with her recipes. One of the crew's favorites is her pot roast.
Feeding hundreds of firefighters takes thousands of pounds of food. Justin Jones, part of the kitchen crew, says Hot Shot Catering brought about 20,000 pounds of food to Willow for the first few days alone.
"We're pretty proud to come out here and do this for these guys, just because we know they're out there doing hard work for Alaska too." Jones said.
"It's humbling," Conroy said.
Until the flames have burned out, Conroy says Hot Shot Catering has what it takes to keep firefighters going.
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