Columbia County firefighters sent to blazes in California
Columbia County firefighters are among those who have been mobilized by the Oregon State Fire Marshal this week to assist with two wildfire incidents in California.
In total, the Oregon State Fire Marshal on Sunday, Oct. 27, mobilized 15 strike teams, which includes 271 personnel, to assist with two wildfires in Mendocino and Sonoma counties in Northern California after state officials requested help through an interstate emergency assistance agreement.
Columbia County mobilized four firefighting units, including one from Scappoose Fire District, two from Columbia River Fire and Rescue and one from Mist-Birkenfeld Fire District. The crews were also joined by a unit being mobilized from Clatsop County. A total 16 personnel were dispatched.
California fire officials made the request Sunday though the Emergency Management Assistance Compact which allow other states to send in crews to help with emergencies. Oregon then acts through the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System to mobilize strike teams which can provide structural firefighting and all-hazard assistance, a press release from OSFM explained.
This marks the third year in row that Oregon firefighters have been dispatched to
California to assist with wildfires.
Oregon crews are assisting with the Burris Fire, which had covered 700-acres in Mendocino County as of Wednesday afternoon, as well as the Kincade Fire, which had covered 76,000 acres in Sonoma County Wednesday afternoon. The Kincaid fire has been particularly difficult to contain due to hot dry winds. Thousands of residents have been evacuated, and had their electricity preemptively turned off, media reports show.
On Wednesday afternoon, Jennifer Motherway, volunteer coordinator for the Scappoose Fire District and Columbia River Fire and Rescue, said the Columbia County crews have been working 24-hour shifts, assisting with tasks like supporting hand crews, digging containment lines, working second shifts, helping direct fire attack and mop-up activities.
Firefighters have been dispatched from Klamath, Douglas, Yamhill, Linn, Columbia, Clatsop, Benton, Multnomah, Marion, Washington, Clackamas, Lincoln, Jackson, Josephine and Lane counties.
Columbia County firefighters have previously been dispatched to multiple interstate fire calls, including the 2018 Camp Fire, which burned more than 150,000 acres and killed 85 people, marking it one of the deadliest fires in the state's history, and the Mendocino Complex fire in July 2018, which covered 459,000 acres, making it one of the largest fires in state history.
Fire crews were also dispatched to blazes across Oregon last fire season, as well as fires in California in 2017.
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