DeFazio Investigates Chetco Bar Fire Management

At today's town hall meeting in Brookings, Congressman DeFazio says some property loss could have been avoided.

Posted: Apr. 21, 2018 5:58 PM
Updated: Apr. 21, 2018 6:00 PM

BROOKINGS, Ore.- Representative Peter DeFazio spoke with 80 people at a Brookings town hall Saturday morning. He says the investigation into the Chetco Bar Fire management is ongoing to this day.

Congressman DeFazio says he's not sure the state is fully prepared for another disaster like the Chetco Bar Fire. He says contracts for fire tankers haven't been made yet.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, (D) Springfield , "It's getting pretty darn late in the season for RFPs and they're going to have to use an emergency process now."

Gerilynn Thompson's property was destroyed in Chetco Bar Fire and spoke up at today's town hall meeting. 

Thompson says the Chetco Bar Fire devastated her family, "We've been there for several generations and it literally burned everything on the ranch except my daughter's house and my trailer."

Thompson thinks locals can play a larger role in fire management, like directing visiting firefighters to fire lines, "The local people need to be involved in the communications of the fire to tell them where the ridges are, and where they think the fire will come this way or that way. So I'm hoping to have more local involvement in the fire."

DeFazio says federal agencies could have prevented some property loss, "The woman who was head of fire when I was down here during the fire with the Chief of the Fire Service, and I'm not going to be polite, she lied to me. She told me they were working to get the supertanker through a certification process. They had excluded them for no good reason from betting by saying you couldn't have more than 10,000 gallons on the plane. Why not?"

Representative DeFazio wants to investigate that decision. He's meeting with the acting chief of the Forest Service next Wednesday in Washington D.C.

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