ODF Prepares for Lightning This Week


MEDFORD, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Forestry brought in a dozer along with five initial attack engines in Medford. They equipped the Grants Pass department with the same resources.

There is a chance of lightning, and with lightning comes fire. With the equipment and crews prepared and ready to go, they can get to a fire quickly if one breaks out. Crews are also staffing lookout towers and extra helicopters watching for fire outbreaks.

“Anytime we detect smoke or detect a fire we immediately dispatch resources to it,” Fire Protection Planner, Matthew Krunglevich, said. “We do an initial size up to see what is actually going on and if there are any additional resource needs. We treat every fire identically so we like to get on scene as quickly as possible, keep the fire as small as possible and do a good initial attack.”

Yesterday the national preparedness level increased to a five, the highest level, meaning there are multiple geographic areas experiencing large wildfires and using a large amount of fire resources.

With the increase in the national preparedness level, resources from Medford can be pulled into Idaho or California at a moments notice, but minimal staffing is required to stay here and deal with the wildfires in Southern Oregon.