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A look inside the Milepost 97 Fire camp

More than one thousand firefighters rotate through the Milepost 97 Fire camp.

Posted: Aug 1, 2019 2:37 AM
Updated: Aug 1, 2019 12:20 PM

MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. -- Almost 1500 firefighters are battling the Milepost 97 Fire. They rotate through a camp in Myrtle Creek, off of Pruner road. 

The heart of the Milepost 97 Fire camp is called the incident command post. Department chiefs meet in the area multiple times a day and it's where big decisions are made. The cost of battling the Milepost 97 Fire is currently at $5.8 million. 

Firefighters rotate through three shifts. One starts at six in the morning, another starts at six in the evening and a swing shift starts in the afternoon. Fire officials said the camp is like a city. 

The camp has its own traffic system. Firefighters can find meals, supplies, a place to shower and a place to sleep at the camp. More importantly, officials said the camp can adjust to the size of the fire. 

"We're just as good as expanding up as we are at shrinking right back down to nothing," said Al DeVos, a public information officer for the Oregon Department of Forestry. "We can right size the fire and have people out of here in a day or two and this field will just look like it just has a footprint on it. But no sign that we had a fire camp here."

Firefighters even have a place to get their laundry cleaned. The laundry trailers have a total of 20 washers and dryers. Firefighters can drop their clothes off, pick up a ticket and come back for their fresh uniforms in less than 12 hours. 

The Fire Cache, run by the Oregon Department of Forestry, is responsible for keeping track and ordering all of the equipment needed on the fire line. Members of the Fire Cache said they can go through 20,000 to 30,000 AA batteries during a fire. Those batteries are used to power radios. 

The supply unit also has about 16 miles or more of hose. The Fire Cache also carries other supplies, such as uniforms, fire shelters and large pools that can be filled with water. 

Members of the Fire Cache said they're extremely proud to be a part of the firefighter family. 

"Folks are giving up summers to come out here," said Supply Unit Leader Eulus Newton. "It's just unbelievable. How can you not support them?"

Firefighters can check out equipment from the Fire Cache when they need it. The equipment is returned after the fire is put out. Most of the supplies are shipped out of Redmond. 

When these firefighters return to camp after being on the fire line, one of the first places many crew members head to is the cafeteria. Firefighters expend about 6,000 calories each day. The cafeteria has to prepare three meals a day for each firefighter that add up to that 6,000 calories. 

The cafeteria is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That way, people working all three shifts will have something to eat. Members of the food unit said firefighters leave the cafeteria with a full stomach. 

For example, one dinner meal included a pulled pork sandwich, macaroni salad, mac and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, watermelon and a lemon bar for dessert. The camp also goes through about ten palettes of water each day. Food unit members said they strive to make the cafeteria a place of comfort. 

"Our job is to boost morale when they come in off the line," Food Unit Leader Nick Stumpf said. "There are a lot of times when I see guys, they hit the hand wash station and they're almost running to get to the food line. They're just so excited because this is the highlight of their day. Otherwise, they're just working and sleeping and showering. So, we're the morale boosters of the fire."

About 70 inmates from across the state actually prepare and serve the food at the fire camp. They're monitored by nine staff members. 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 133205

Reported Deaths: 1800
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28337458
Washington18644171
Marion16172238
Clackamas11642138
Lane8272108
Jackson689285
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Yamhill318245
Malheur313152
Linn310846
Polk244640
Klamath242838
Josephine173533
Jefferson170225
Benton169514
Douglas167743
Union111416
Wasco107123
Columbia104318
Lincoln99117
Hood River95121
Coos93715
Morrow93310
Clatsop6865
Crook61010
Baker5685
Tillamook3652
Curry3245
Lake2305
Grant2131
Harney1754
Wallowa963
Gilliam511
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2988326

Reported Deaths: 33589
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles101466213848
San Bernardino2512131560
Riverside2394122517
San Diego2117872103
Orange2108132367
Santa Clara926251065
Kern84644565
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Ventura60368412
San Joaquin56642748
Contra Costa51573446
Stanislaus42337739
Tulare40655501
Monterey35418250
San Mateo31805294
San Francisco28853254
Imperial25140463
Solano24732105
Santa Barbara24149231
Sonoma23607234
Merced23492296
Kings19125133
Placer16995173
San Luis Obispo15466128
Madera13193130
Santa Cruz12026113
Marin11482153
Yolo10406131
Shasta9594117
Butte9359121
El Dorado757544
Sutter756077
Napa735639
Lassen509413
San Benito488243
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada314473
Mendocino307631
Amador298629
Lake250428
Humboldt229424
Glenn189419
Colusa16919
Calaveras159623
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
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Del Norte8532
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