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TALENT, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown came to southern Oregon on Monday, meeting with first responders and touring areas that were devastated by the Almeda Fire nearly two weeks ago.
Early in the day, Brown visited an area directly across from the Talent Police Department. While the station remains standing, nothing but debris remains of the apartments across the street.
At the Jackson County Fire District 5 station in Talent, the Governor spoke with firefighters, law enforcement officers, and other first responders involved in the Almeda Fire efforts. While most of the conversations were hushed and somber, there were occasional moments of levity.
"What do you guys need, besides money?" Brown asked one firefighter on Monday.
"That's about it," he replied, earning wry chuckles from the other first responders nearby. The Governor promised to act accordingly.
“Today I surveyed the devastation caused by the Almeda Fire," Brown said in a statement issued later in the day. "From seeing it firsthand and talking with evacuees, the losses in Medford, Ashland, Phoenix, and Talent are hard to comprehend. My priority is to secure the resources necessary to help rebuild an even stronger southern Oregon."
.@ORStatePolice Trooper Cameron Wiggett put in 50 hours of overtime on the Almeda fire, evacuating two children who were separated from their family & two adults with disabilities safely to a Red Cross site. He inspires me, as do all the heroic and selfless first responders. pic.twitter.com/zS2flWQopa
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) September 21, 2020
In all, Brown's office said that she received a fire briefing from the Incident Command Post, visited deployed troops from the Oregon National Guard, visited the donation site at Home Depot, and met with a group of community partners "representing health equity, schools, law enforcement, and social justice."
With Brown were Representative Pam Marsh, Adjutant General Michael Stencel, and Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps.
While NewsWatch 12 was able to get footage during portions of Brown's visit, representatives from the Governor's office did not provide availability for questions.
Brown similarly visited areas near the Beachie Creek Fire last week. That massive wildfire east of Salem, now covering nearly 200,000 acres, has also resulted in several confirmed deaths and hundreds of destroyed homes.
Seeing the devastation firsthand at the Beachie Creek Fire was incredibly moving. My heart is heavy for all the Oregonians who have lost loved ones, homes, & businesses. I'm doing everything I can to get recovery resources. You can apply for help here: https://t.co/xNWVMeyn17 pic.twitter.com/DGzEU39SSm
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) September 17, 2020