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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.

Confirmed Cases: 19366

Reported Deaths: 328
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah449793
Washington284923
Marion269268
Umatilla206024
Clackamas142136
Malheur67610
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Lane5233
Lincoln3959
Jackson3941
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Morrow3051
Polk29612
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Hood River1690
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Coos850
Clatsop820
Columbia790
Crook431
Baker330
Lake320
Tillamook300
Wallowa191
Sherman150
Curry140
Harney80
Gilliam40
Grant20
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Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 516851

Reported Deaths: 9441
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Orange37813651
Riverside37011695
San Bernardino33432418
San Diego29883565
Kern20651144
Fresno15083138
San Joaquin11885180
Alameda11524189
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Sacramento10122145
Tulare9745189
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Santa Barbara616760
San Mateo5683119
Marin509270
Monterey492430
Kings445356
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Solano361137
Sonoma311339
Madera194330
Placer192516
San Luis Obispo190216
Yolo157242
Santa Cruz11524
Butte9417
Napa8888
Sutter7976
San Benito6474
El Dorado6371
Lassen6260
Yuba5024
Shasta3909
Glenn3321
Colusa3314
Mendocino3229
Nevada2991
Tehama2341
Humboldt2334
Lake2081
Mono1451
Tuolumne1412
Amador1260
Calaveras1251
Del Norte880
Siskiyou730
Inyo611
Mariposa572
Plumas330
Trinity50
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Modoc20
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