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9 firefighters injured in Milepost 97 Fire so far

The Milepost 97 Fire continues to grow everyday and so does the containment. So far, nine firefighters have been injured fighting this fire. Now crews are implementing something new on the fire line to keep each other safe.

Posted: Jul 31, 2019 9:30 PM
Updated: Jul 31, 2019 11:20 PM

CANYONVILLE, Ore. -- The Milepost 97 Fire continues to grow everyday and so does the containment. So far, nine firefighters have been injured fighting this fire. That's an average of one injury per day. Now crews are implementing something new on the fire line to keep each other safe.

Crews said most of the injuries have been minor, like a fever or the 'camp cough.' A couple of days ago, though, one firefighter injurty could have been a lot worse.

"A crew member was working on some steep terrain and some sort of object came rolling down. It hit him in the back of the head. They were treated at the scene and life-flighted to a nearby hospital," said ODF's AL De Vos.

Luckily the firefighter walked out of the hospital later that day.

De Vos said the Milepost 97 Fire is a complex one to fight. The terrain is exceptionally steep and it's burning in an old burn scar full of tall, dead trees. Some have caught on fire, rolled down hills and even started spot fires. It's a big hazard for a crew's safety.

"Our safety officer kind of applauded the team because we didn't have any injuries Tuesday," De Vos said.

Now crews are implementing what they call '5 at 2.' Every afernoon at two o'clock, all of the crews get a radio call to take a quick 5 minute break.

"It's really a chance for people to come together on the crew, look around, see if the wind direction has changed, if the temperature has changed, if anything has happened," De Vos said. "They can look around, see if there are any spot fires and keep each other safe."

Once that 5 minute break is over, they get back to work.

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