Molalla fire chief called to assist in fighting Douglas Complex fire

Molalla Fire Chief Vince Stafford has been down working the Douglas Complex fire in Southern Oregon as a member of the state Incident Management Team (IMT).

The fire started Friday, July 26, after lightning in thunderstorms ignited 54 wildfires. Gov. John Kitzhaber declared the complex a conflagration Saturday, allowing the state fire marshal to call in crews and equipment from around the state, including the IMT.

Stafford is one of more than 1,200 firefighters and support staff battling the fires that have burned more than 33 square miles.

Multiple state agencies have responded to the blaze, providing a variety of assets in support of the firefighting operations, said Molalla Fire spokeswoman Denise Everhart.

“The chief is on the state fire marshals green team — part of the IMT — activated when the governor declared a state of emergency,” Everhart said. “These are really big fires, and to have the opportunity to help the state fire marshal is a great asset for the chief and fire marshal. It brings back valuable lessons to the Molalla Fire District, and that is important because we live on wild land urban interface.”

The Incident Management Team is a statewide group that responds to a fire emergency. Although the primary purpose of an IMT is for wildfire response, the team can respond to a wide range of emergencies, including fires, floods and earthquakes.

In the United States, there are predominantly five types of incident management teams. An incident such as a wildland fire is initially managed by local fire departments or fire agencies, but if the fire becomes complex, additional resources are called in to address the emergency, and higher levels of management training and capability are required. IMTs are "typed" according to the complexity of incidents they are capable of managing and are part of an incident command 

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