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Local Fire Crews Lending a Hand at the Camp Fire in Paradise, California

Newswatch 12's Rachel Tiede is in Paradise, California bringing us the latest information and updates about the Camp Fire.

Posted: Nov 17, 2018 10:58 AM
Updated: Nov 19, 2018 2:31 PM

PARADISE, Calif. -- Oregonians, including people from Southern Oregon, are helping with the Camp Fire.

Kyle Reed, Fire Protection Specialist for Douglas Forest Protection Association got the call they were heading south right before his anniversary dinner.

"We were just getting ready to go out to dinner that night and we had to drop everything we were doing and start packing bags," Reed said. 

Reed is from Douglas County and came down as part of the Oregon Department of Forestry crew. Other folks from around the state and the Rogue Valley came down to help too.

Mike Calhoun, a battalion chief with Fire District 3 says this type of fire behavior is new for his crews.

"All of them have commented that the fire behavior and the fire conditions were unlike anything they had ever experienced back at home," Calhoun said. 

That's because it's so dry and the winds are intense. Calhoun adds these types of fires could happen back home. 

"This community, you know driving around is very similar to what we have around Gold Hill, Jacksonville, Sams Valley, the outer fringes of Eagle Point, the upper east side of Medford at the top of Hillcrest and McAndrews -- it's very similar," Calhoun said. "Houses are close together, lot of dry fuel -- trees, brush."

Almost every fire crew member NewsWatch 12 spoke with the amount of damage from the Camp Fire is unusual. Fires don't typically destroy neighborhood after neighborhood.

"We're getting a better experience in grasp on the type of fire behavior that California has been experiencing," said Brian Farber, a battalion Chief from Medford Fire - Rescue. "Every year for the last eight years it's been the worst or the driest, and this year it's the worst."

Despite the heavy lifting, and grim work of working through the rubble, crews are keeping a positive attitude during hard 24 - hour shifts. That's something Farber says makes him extremely proud of his team.

"We've been here for eight days now and they still come in with a positive attitude and that's pretty nice to see after working 24 hour shifts being in the smoke," Farber said. 

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