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National Guard, FEMA on Standby for Southern Oregon Wildfires

A declaration of statewide wildfire emergency from Governor Brown has made new resources available for crews fighting wildfires throughout Southern Oregon.

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 3:03 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 4:53 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Help is on the way for a Southern Oregon already overwhelmed by an early fire season. After Governor Brown declared a statewide wildfire emergency on July 18, both the Oregon National Guard and FEMA became available for beleaguered fire and forestry crews striving to contain multiple wildfires across the state.

"The wildfire season has escalated in Oregon much earlier normal, and crews are working around the clock to keep homes and resources safe," said Governor Brown. "Given drought conditions and hotter than usual temperatures, Oregonians should be prepared for an intense wildfire season this year."

Governor Brown's invocation of the Emergency Conflagration Act came primarily in response to the 29,000-acre Substation Fire near The Dalles in northern Oregon, and not the profusion of smaller fires littering Southern Oregon right now. But Operation Plan Smokey, an agreement between the National Guard and Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), will benefit Southern Oregon just the same.

Under Plan Smokey, Guard CH-47 Chinook and HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters are made available to ODF to aid fire crews with retardant drops and medical evacuations. A UH-72 Lakota helicopter may also be used for aerial spotting.

According to the Oregon Military Department (OMD), two teams—each with about 125 servicemen and women—are trained and "Red Card" certified for wildfire season, with an additional 125-person team on track for certification by August 10.

Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds for firefighting efforts on the Garner Complex—which includes the Pleasant Creek and Graves Creek #3 fires, as well as the Taylor Creek Fire which is now considered part of the Wagner Complex by ODF.

FEMA said in a statement that Region 10 Administrator Mike O'Hare determined that the fire "threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster." He approved the state of Oregon’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) at 11:43 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18.

At the time of the request, FEMA said, those Rogue Valley fires were burning in steep and difficult terrain—threatening 400 homes in the Pickett Creek, Pleasant Creek, Wimer, and other areas around Merlin. The complex was also threatening major transmission lines supplying power to Oregon and California, communication towers and recreational areas, according to FEMA.

A FMAG comes from the President's Disaster Relief Fund and becomes available through FEMA to assist localities in fighting fires that threaten a major disaster. Eligible items can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; mobilization and demobilization activities; and tools, materials and supplies.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 133205

Reported Deaths: 1800
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28337458
Washington18644171
Marion16172238
Clackamas11642138
Lane8272108
Jackson689285
Umatilla676568
Deschutes495236
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
Fresno81294932
Sacramento791221080
Alameda66583757
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
Inyo92429
Del Norte8532
Plumas5735
Modoc3793
Mariposa3444
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00
Medford
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