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C.O. strike teams assigned to Atlas Fire in Napa


(Update: Comments from fire officials, Sisters residents in area)

Several fire crews from Central Oregon are in Northern California to help CalFire battle several raging wildfires.

The state fire marshal activated its agency operations center and 10 strike teams with equipment drove down Wednesday morning to help out in Sonoma County.

Crews from Bend, Sisters-Camp Sherman, Sunriver, Keno, Chiloquin and Klamath Falls have all been called to help out in California.

The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District crews have been busy since this summer helping fight the Milli Fire west of Sisters and the Eagle Creek Fire, which charred thousands of acres in the Columbia River Gorge.

The Central Oregon strike team left at 1 a.m. and arrived at Napa Valley Expo, where they were assigned to the Atlas Fire, burning in Napa County. Their mission is to help protect homes and businesses.

“We told the state that we could provide three engines and a strike team leader, and so they brought us together with Klamath County and Klamath County provided two more Type 3 engines,” Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District Deputy Chief Tim Craig said.

For the Bend Fire Department, this is the first time to be mobilized to California. The department sent type three engine with six crew members to help out.

Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe told NewsChannel 21 protecting structures will play a big role when fighting the wildfires.

Crews will be putting out hot spots, and removing fuels around homes.

Jim and Jane Kress, a Sisters couple, were staying at a hotel in Healdsburg, just four miles north of Santa Rosa.

Jim Kress said his hotel was full of displaced families.

“I would say people looked pretty shell-shocked. We went out to get something to eat and most of the restaurants are closed because they don’t have power,” Kress said.

The C.O. strike team could be there for a week or more, it all depends on how these fires behave.


Earlier story:

Several Central Oregon fire agencies are among those around the state assembling and sending crews and equipment to Northern California to help fight the deadly wildfires that have claimed at least 21 lives and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.

The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal, in coordination with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, said Wednesday it has activated its Agency Operations Center and 10 strike teams with equipment and personnel to assist with the raging wildfires in California.

California fire officials submitted a request asking for assistance Tuesday evening from Oregon and Arizona. The OSFM activated its emergency mobilization plan, sending out the request for assistance to all Oregon fire agencies.

“Oregon fire agencies have stepped up to the plate to help our neighbors to the south, said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. “California helped us with the fires in southern Oregon this year, and I am proud that we can return the favor in their time of need.”

California made the request through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact a national state to state mutual aid system. The EMAC request is sent directly to Oregon Emergency Management officials, who contact and coordinate with the appropriate Oregon agency to fulfill the requests.

Oregon county fire defense board chiefs have activated 10 strike teams from the following counties: Two from Lane County, Washington County, Multnomah County, Linn/Benton counties, Marion County, Clatsop County, Jackson/Josephine counties, Yamhill County, and Klamath/Deschutes counties.

Crews from Bend, Sisters-Camp Sherman, Sunriver and Klamath Falls have been assigned as a Strike Team to work in Santa Rosa for at least a week, although the duration is dependent upon fire conditions and funding, Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe said Wednesday.

Although California has a very strong statewide emergency mobilization plan, which has always worked well, the fire situation is so dire that they are asking for help from Oregon and Arizona, Howe said.

CalFire has requested that the Oregon State Fire Marshal send up to 50 engines to California. Oregon is responding to this request with 10 strike teams, each team made up of a specific engine type and a leader. California is paying for this mobilization at the rate specified in the Oregon Mobilization Plan.

Bend is supplying one Type 3 engine and a leader, with a total of six people. This is the first time that Bend Fire has been mobilized to work on fires in California, Howe said.

The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District , which is sending one of the Type 3 heavy brush engines, said in a Facebook post, “We wish our firefighters to best as they go to help with the tragic incidents down south. Safe travels, we look forward to your speedy return!”

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