NRK - History

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Cache History


The Northern Rockies Interagency Support Cache was built in 1954 as part of the Aerial Fire Depot, to house firefighting supplies and equipment.  The original warehouse was 30,450 square feet.  The Depot was dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on September 22, 1954.


 1954 Missoulian Front Page



1954 Aerial View of Cache

The Northern Region’s Regional Fire Cache opens for business, with a 30,450 square foot warehouse built for $700,000.  Its mission is to support fire suppression activities for the Forest Service.


historic photo of fire cache

Original facility maintains capacity to service 2500 personnel.  A sub-cache is set up in Spokane, Washington to serve Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.  1967 becomes the benchmark year for performance.


Mission expanded to serve 5000 personnel.  The sub-cache in Spokane is dropped, and the Wenatchee Cache takes over Eastern Washington.  A second warehouse facility is set up in Missoula to process returns and refurbishment.


Continuation of basic mission, but the complexity of cache items expands to include radio and computer equipment.  The “Base Camp” becomes the “Mobile Cache Van”.  Aerial delivery drifts away.  Cold food storage is replaced by catering services.  The second warehouse is dropped in favor of a warehouse addition that increases space by a third.  The Cache becomes the first in the nation with a fully functional automated inventory system.  1988 is crowned the benchmark year, leading to creation of a national cache system.


Beginning with its reclassification as a National Interagency Support Cache,  the mission broadens its scope to serve all agencies in all types of emergency and disaster support, including international support.  Technology, general demand and changing roles increase demand on storage and processing.  1994 was the hot button year for business with 4 times the average business for the decade.  The second and third generation of automated inventory management software are implemented in 1992 and 1999.


Modern view of Cache

The first decade of the third millennium runs a record course.  The average business year was nearly three times greater than the previous decade.  Three years rivaled the 1988 season: Years 2000 and 2007 nearly equaled 1988 while 2003 eclipsed it for the all-time greatest volume year.  The Cache’s mission expands further yet to support all phases of fire management.  Demand is so great that two additional facilities are set up to process returns and refurbishment.  In 2007, the Type 3 teams arise to a larger impacton the Cache.  Continued growth in scope, business volume and operational year prompts submission of a proposed re-organization plan.  The growth in business moves a proposed facility enhancement up the wish list.  The fourth generation automated inventory management software is launched in 2008.