Task force returns after 10-day dispatch assisting with Camp Fire in Northern California

PHOTO COURTESY OF COLUMBIA RIVER FIRE AND RESCUE AND SCAPPOOSE FIRE DISTRICT - A task force of firefighters from Columbia County returned home this week after assisting with the Camp Fire for 10 days in California. Crews were assigned to work on firefighting activities, assist with search and rescue, help stranded victims and work to help lost and injured pets, among other duties. A task force of Columbia County firefighters recently returned home from a 10-day dispatch to assist with a massive and deadly California wildfire.

Columbia County firefighters were called to Butte County on Friday, Nov. 9, one day after a massive wildfire broke out in the northern part of the state. A task force of 15 crews from Oregon was dispatched after the Oregon Fire Marshal's Office received requests for assistance. The strike teams returned home this week, according to information from OSFM.

The Camp Fire, which has burned more than 153,000 acres and is 80 percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon, has killed 81 people, resulted in three firefighter injuries and has destroyed thousands of homes, commercial structures and other buildings. Hundreds of people are missing and thousands of structures are being threatened by the blaze.

While working in California, crews assisted with securing utility lines and putting out hotspots in the area surrounding the city of Paradise. The Columbia County task force was made up of firefighters from Scappoose, St. Helens, Clatskanie, Gearhart and Clatsop County.

Columbia River Fire and Rescue Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Motherway coordinated with crew members while they were gone and recounted stories of them offering their own food and water to victims stranded in remote areas, firefighters helping rescue lost and injured animals, and personnel assisting with search-and-rescue efforts to recover human remains left in the fire's wake.

Firefighters returned to Columbia County Tuesday morning, Nov. 20, and a short video of their return has been posted to social media.

Community members and supporters commented on the video and thanked the firefighters for their service.

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