Western WashCo fire crews mobilize for California fires
Firefighters and equipment from Washington County are heading south to assist in the battle against wildfires raging in California.
Forest Grove Fire & Rescue announced Friday, Nov. 9, via its official Twitter account that a contingent is taking "a little 14 day road trip" to Chico, Calif. Spokesman Matt Johnston confirmed that between FGF&R and its partner agencies, the Cornelius Fire Department and Gaston Rural Fire District, at least eight firefighters and two engines are deploying.
Bruce Montgomery, a spokesman for the Hillsboro Fire Department, said his agency is also participating.
"We'll be sending a crew down and an engine," Montgomery confirmed.
See the series 'Living with Wildfires' by Oregon Public Broadcasting, a news partner of Pamplin Media Group, on how wildfire season in the West is becoming longer, hotter and more dangerous.
Washington County personnel and equipment are combined as part of one of Oregon's 15 "structural task forces," which are coordinated through the office of the Oregon state fire marshal.
Twenty-two personnel are being dispatched as part of each task force, said fire marshal spokeswoman Kristin Schafer. Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and the Banks Fire District are also contributing to the effort with one engine apiece.
California requested assistance with the Camp Fire. The fire is estimated to have burned 70,000 acres as of Friday, and numerous buildings have already been destroyed as it rages out of control.
The Camp Fire isn't the only blaze burning in California. In Southern California, Malibu, a city of about 13,000, has been placed under an evacuation order due to the Woolsey Fire.
Fire crews from Washington County previously deployed to California to assist with wildfires last December.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that Washington County crews have been asked to assist with the Camp Fire in Northern California. Southern California is also dealing with wildfires burning separately, including the Woolsey Fire in Malibu.
By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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