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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: 207106

Reported Deaths: 2757
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40396614
Washington26812249
Marion23444323
Clackamas18953235
Lane13924164
Jackson11549146
Deschutes1002782
Umatilla860987
Linn562281
Yamhill478679
Klamath477878
Polk400556
Douglas389583
Malheur362063
Josephine361772
Benton326922
Jefferson237139
Coos216737
Columbia192329
Union150124
Wasco144530
Lincoln143421
Crook129223
Hood River121733
Morrow115516
Clatsop10609
Baker102315
Curry72011
Tillamook6604
Grant5517
Lake4688
Harney4339
Wallowa1945
Gilliam811
Sherman701
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3810808

Reported Deaths: 63373
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124790924459
Riverside3017994627
San Bernardino2993204850
San Diego2818863771
Orange2731055113
Santa Clara1201922190
Kern1107991404
Sacramento1078721737
Fresno1029711724
Alameda897561277
Ventura816611031
San Joaquin748081440
Contra Costa70770813
Stanislaus635351070
Tulare49802849
Monterey43842432
San Mateo42685581
San Francisco37275556
Santa Barbara34621455
Solano33762266
Merced32315479
Sonoma30957317
Imperial28855741
Placer23604300
Kings23202247
San Luis Obispo21448261
Madera16647245
Santa Cruz16246208
Marin14208230
Yolo14165212
Butte12668195
Shasta12630233
El Dorado10401116
Napa1002880
Sutter9666113
Yuba651251
San Benito610963
Lassen579925
Tehama573563
Nevada493175
Humboldt450849
Mendocino434050
Tuolumne421671
Amador374247
Lake356345
Glenn243327
Siskiyou239837
Colusa228818
Calaveras220856
Del Norte14588
Inyo143438
Mono12984
Plumas7376
Modoc5635
Mariposa4657
Trinity4236
Sierra1170
Alpine890
Unassigned320
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