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U.K. firefighters visit, learn from C.O. experts

KTVZ

A group of firefighters from Hampshire, United Kingdom have come all the way to Central Oregon to learn how to effectively fight wildfires.

On Thursday, they visited the burn scar of last year’s Two Bulls Fire.

“I’ve never seen anything like this on this scale,” said Glenn Bowyer, station manager for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“We don’t have wildfires on the scale that you do here,” said David Hodge, station commander for the fire service.

Although wildfires there might not have grow to the same scale as they have in Central Oregon, Hampshire has a lot more people and structures to protect. Hampshire has almost 18 times higher population density than Oregon.

“A wildfire there impacts the community a lot more,” Hodge said.

Oregon’s firefighters are known far and wide to be experts in wildland firefighting.

“The rest of the country, and really the entire world monitors what we do here,” said Roger Johnson, fire chief with the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District.

The key to the success in Central Oregon is teamwork, officials told the visitors.

“We know fire doesn’t really know any boundaries,” said Gary Marshall, fire safety manager for the Sisters Camp-Sherman Fire District. “It’s going to cross those jurisdictions — from local jurisdiction to state and federal jurisdiction.”

During the Two Bulls Fire, crews from across the region responded.

“The command structure is so formalized and so well-structured,” Hodge said.

Even in firefighting, you never stop learning.

“We learn from them, they learn a lot from us,” Marshall said.

Hodge said, “It was an experience that I will never forget.”

Next year, a group of Central Oregon firefighters will travel to the United Kingdom.

KTVZ News Team

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