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: 309841

Reported Deaths: 3569
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah50840642
Washington34683272
Marion32181388
Clackamas26315270
Lane23632246
Jackson20753255
Deschutes16401100
Umatilla12552125
Douglas10599185
Linn1030285
Josephine8536163
Yamhill737299
Klamath637891
Polk617770
Malheur475867
Benton454027
Coos406469
Columbia320237
Jefferson310446
Lincoln272829
Union266036
Wasco236739
Crook212137
Clatsop210225
Tillamook179623
Baker171920
Morrow166621
Curry166317
Hood River161635
Harney77115
Grant7538
Lake6608
Wallowa50111
Gilliam1364
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 4629254

Reported Deaths: 67880
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144280825828
Riverside3568674792
San Diego3488504006
San Bernardino3463255488
Orange3135295346
Sacramento1496892070
Santa Clara1400931838
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Alameda1158381320
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San Joaquin968971610
Contra Costa95424924
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San Mateo52065607
San Francisco51698605
Monterey49400564
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Santa Barbara42954498
Sonoma39293376
Merced39105533
Placer36269362
Imperial34170755
Kings29948281
San Luis Obispo28194311
Madera21586258
Butte21114230
Shasta20487276
Santa Cruz20094211
Yolo19082239
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Nevada843085
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Mendocino679471
Lassen634127
Tuolumne610393
Lake598987
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Glenn395030
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Del Norte332734
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Mono14705
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Trinity71410
Modoc6278
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Unassigned1010
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