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Wildfire strike team comes to the Rogue Valley to support local departments during wildfires

Medford Oregon Department of Forestry headquarters is hosting the team, though it will be responsive to fires that could happen to the entire ODF Southern Oregon Area.

Posted: Jul 19, 2021 6:42 PM
Updated: Jul 20, 2021 2:16 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- A strike team to assist with wildfires in Southern Oregon started its time on standby at 10 a.m. July 19 at the Medford Oregon Department of Forestry headquarters. The team will stay in Southern Oregon for no more than two weeks.

Though the 11 person crew is based out of the Rogue Valley, it is here to help the entire ODF Southern Oregon Area, including the Western Lane, South Cascade and Southwest Oregon Districts, as well as the Douglas and Coos Forest Protective Associations.

Right now, resources are limited due to a large amount of incidents on the landscape.  There is also potential lightning in the forecast, prepositioning this strike team ensures added capacity to the area.

The strike team is made up of five Rural Metro Fire Type-6 engines, three from Arizona, including Yuma, Tucson and Maricopa County.

The other two engines are locally based out of Grants Pass; one local Rural Metro firefighter will be joined by three additional personnel from Tennessee to staff those engines.

Natalie Weber with Oregon Department of Forestry, Southwest District said, "We have a couple personnel from Tennessee and they're really here to be an additional resource for us. We're getting to that part in the year where things are getting really dry they have been for a while and we're seeing that increased risk for fire and having resources here on the ready is going to help us so much more in the long run when it comes to initial attack."

Yuma, Arizona Fire Chief, Tim Soule is on the team and he said the team will be ready to fight any fire that may come up at any point.

"Most of us have prior experience. I fought fires in Montana, Idaho, including California, all the western states. So, I'm familiar with the fuel model."

Nationally, resources are at a level 5. This means resources are stretched thin while Southern Oregon is in extreme fire risk.

ODF says it is grateful to have the extra hands over the next several days.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 305560

Reported Deaths: 3536
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah50387640
Washington34277272
Marion31825388
Clackamas25971268
Lane23275244
Jackson20487243
Deschutes1610599
Umatilla12424123
Douglas10459183
Linn1001586
Josephine8418162
Yamhill718196
Klamath625292
Polk607669
Malheur468267
Benton447624
Coos398169
Columbia314637
Jefferson308146
Lincoln268329
Union262236
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Crook207837
Clatsop204525
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Baker166919
Morrow165621
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Grant7528
Harney74813
Lake6478
Wallowa48910
Gilliam1334
Sherman1243
Wheeler651
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Cases: 4506148

Reported Deaths: 67482
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San Bernardino3385855465
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Orange3127365326
Sacramento1450512052
Santa Clara1390161828
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Alameda1125311322
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Contra Costa92822908
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Stanislaus794201210
Tulare58961888
San Mateo50602603
San Francisco48998603
Monterey46684558
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Santa Barbara40783495
Sonoma38812372
Merced37430526
Placer32910350
Imperial30845753
Kings27955278
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Madera19800258
Santa Cruz18965210
Yolo18044239
Shasta17563274
Butte17516226
Marin16584242
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Sutter12670149
Napa1207091
Yuba892861
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Humboldt798482
Tehama714380
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Mendocino671571
Lassen634127
Tuolumne595193
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Amador479057
Siskiyou344341
Calaveras328066
Del Norte325232
Glenn304530
Colusa275418
Inyo160539
Mono14615
Plumas11486
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Trinity69210
Modoc6278
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Unassigned1030
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