SELMA, Ore. – Fire crews on the Labrador fire say they have had plenty of experience in how to handle the fire. That’s because much of the same crews battled multiple wildfires in that same area over the past 10 years.
Many firefighters and managers helped battle the Biscuit Fire in the Illinois Valley in 2002, and fought the Horse Mountain Fire in 2008 and the Oak Flat Fire in 2010 in similar terrain, just a few miles apart. Many of the same crews, firefighters, and information officers have returned for the Labrador Fire, and the fire camp has been set up at the same location at Lake Selmac. In both of the last two wildfires, crews took an indirect approach by using existing ridges and rivers to help check the fire, along with previous firelines from the biscuit fire.
They said that experience is helping them know what could work on the Labrador.
“It’s rewarding to know there’s some rich experience levels amongst our team,” said Fire Information Officer Tom Lavagnino, who worked at the previous fires. “We know this area quite well, we’ve had some failures and some successes and we’ve learned from both. And I think we’re putting that together for a successful strategy.”
Fire managers said there have been some key differences. The Labrador fire is burning directly in an area where part of the Biscuit Fire burned, but the Horse mountain and Oak Flat fires burned just outside the Biscuit Fire lines.