SALEM, Ore. — Fire, forestry and law enforcement agencies on the front lines of the Garner Complex will be gaining some backup from the Oregon National Guard, according to a statement from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).
147 members of the Oregon National Guard and Air National Guard are preparing to travel to the Grave fires, part of the Garner Complex which straddles Jackson and Josephine counties.
According to ODF, those reinforcements will arrive later this week, and the troops have "already been trained" in firefighting techniques because of federal funding through oregon's congressional delegation.
“Our Oregon National Guardsmen consider it an honor to serve their state in its time of need and assist our partners in fighting wildfires,” said Chris Ingersoll, spokesman for the Oregon National Guard.
The influx of National Guard members became possible after Governor Kate Brown proclaimed a State of Emergency Due to Imminent Threat of Wildfire.
“We appreciate the Oregon National Guard and Gov. Brown for this much-needed added capacity. Our long-standing partnership has, once again, proven its value at a time of high demand for firefighting resources in Oregon and nationally,” said Nancy Hirsch, deputy state forester for ODF.
National Guard aircraft and personnel have been employed on fires in the Garner Complex—including the Taylor Creek Fire, which is now its own entity—for days now, but this new influx of boots on the ground (and in the air) will help firefighting teams spread thin across multiple fires.