SALEM, Ore. — Not far behind returning firefighters from the Rogue Valley Strike Team, forestry crews are now on their way back to Oregon after helping with Camp Fire efforts in Butte County, California. Teams from both the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) were released on Tuesday.
“Our crews came down readily willing to serve Cal Fire and the citizens of Butte County,” said ODF Agency Representative Matt Howard. “While the work they completed was within their scope, training and experience, the difference with the Camp Fire was the sheer magnitude of the incident. The severe loss of human life, infrastructure, and natural resources are unlike anything our folks have experienced."
Oregon's forestry teams helped construct and improve fire lines, conducted controlledburns, and assisted with recovery efforts in Paradise and the nearby communities harmed by the fire. The Camp Fire is believed to be the deadliest wildfire in at least a century — with more than 151,000 acres burned, 79 confirmed fatalities, and more than 13,000 structures destroyed.
All 28 crew from ODF and DFPA are heading home to their families just in time for Thanksgiving.
“As the agency representative, I am extremely humbled to have shared this assignment with the two experienced Engine Strike Teams from the Oregon Department of Forestry and Douglas Forest Protective Association. Our homecoming is bittersweet as we head home to our loved ones,” Howard added. “Our heartfelt wishes are with our fellow firefighters, Paradise and surrounding communities, and all those impacted by this tragic fire.”