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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: 320990

Reported Deaths: 3682
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah52083644
Washington35615280
Marion33366399
Clackamas27185275
Lane24597256
Jackson21336267
Deschutes17215104
Umatilla13006129
Douglas10969202
Linn1083488
Josephine8772173
Yamhill7704101
Klamath666493
Polk642172
Malheur494667
Benton474228
Coos436272
Columbia333539
Jefferson325747
Lincoln283430
Union280938
Wasco248139
Crook220639
Clatsop217526
Tillamook185123
Baker180524
Morrow170721
Curry168617
Hood River165835
Harney88318
Grant8678
Lake7418
Wallowa54012
Gilliam1404
Sherman1333
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4680552

Reported Deaths: 68599
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles145417226013
Riverside3600584843
San Diego3543914051
San Bernardino3490475540
Orange3162215384
Sacramento1516592138
Santa Clara1411661844
Fresno1373871927
Kern1369321532
Alameda1168001333
San Joaquin983511628
Ventura982921134
Contra Costa96331924
Stanislaus814771256
Tulare74142898
San Mateo52540612
San Francisco52328615
Monterey49733567
Solano44452312
Santa Barbara43353505
Merced39734546
Sonoma39609384
Placer37033367
Imperial34462755
Kings30419293
San Luis Obispo28582318
Madera22042263
Butte21781236
Shasta21374290
Santa Cruz20255214
Yolo19359239
Marin17200242
El Dorado16194130
Sutter13228154
Napa1235295
Yuba937161
Nevada856885
Tehama843786
Humboldt843093
San Benito711470
Mendocino698476
Lassen653027
Tuolumne623393
Lake613592
Amador498859
Glenn407530
Siskiyou406241
Calaveras351170
Del Norte342035
Colusa293918
Inyo168539
Mono15145
Plumas12676
Mariposa102713
Trinity74310
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1370
Alpine1010
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