STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Oregon forestry crews aid with Alaska wildfires as northern state suffers fiery summer

With 'favorable' conditions holding out in Oregon, crews have been helping out in Alaska.

Posted: Jul 16, 2019 3:24 PM
Updated: Jul 16, 2019 3:32 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Fire Season has had a relatively slow start in Oregon this year thanks to "favorable" conditions, but the state of Alaska has not been so lucky. As a result, forestry crews that were busy containing wildfires close to home by this time in 2018 have taken their talents up north, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).

"ODF leadership selected personnel from areas where current conditions and available resources allow for the opportunity to send help to our Alaskan partners while ensuring capacity to respond to any local fires on the home front," the agency said in a statement.

Both Oregon and Alaska are members of the Northwest Compact, an alliance between state and national forestry agencies for quickly sharing resources across both state and international lines. Just last year, crews from Alaska helped ODF fight the Klondike and Taylor Creek fires that threatened homes in Josephine and Curry counties.

The Northwest Compact consists of five states; Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. It also includes the five Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories.

There are currently 28 ODF firefighters in Alaska — 20 initial attack crew members and eight "overhead," or administrative roles. They don't intend to be there longer than the standard, 14-day assignment. Some of them will be headed home by next week.

According to ODF, the Alaska deployment offers "unique firefighting challenges and training opportunities" — including working in permafrost, avoiding "conflicts with local wildlife," and the frequent use of helicopters to reach remote fire camps.

"While this experience may differ from typical fires in Oregon, the objective is familiar for ODF crews: safely put fires out while they are small," the agency said.

ODF usually tries to keep fires under the size of 10 acres, the agency said, and the focus on initial attack has been similar in their Alaskan campaign.

“These ODF crews were selected from across the state for their skill and experience with initial attack, as well as the availability and conditions back home. Our folks are not assigned to a large fire up here, but are relieving exhausted personnel engaged in continuing efforts to catch new fire starts while they are small," said ODF’s Jamie Paul, serving as the Agency Representative for ODF resources in Alaska.

"As part of Oregon’s complete and coordinated system, and the Northwest Compact, this is what ODF is all about,” Paul continued. “We are happy the timing allows us to assist our interagency Alaskan partners in their time of need.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 361240

Reported Deaths: 4318
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah56287712
Washington39109325
Marion37168457
Clackamas30096309
Lane28087306
Jackson23248310
Deschutes20680125
Umatilla14567151
Linn13113132
Douglas12237251
Josephine9451198
Yamhill8820114
Klamath8146122
Polk746481
Malheur568578
Benton559831
Coos510295
Columbia388144
Jefferson381254
Lincoln324139
Union321550
Crook296346
Wasco291941
Clatsop244828
Baker204529
Tillamook198033
Hood River195837
Morrow186623
Curry182725
Harney114727
Grant100213
Lake96012
Wallowa69312
Gilliam1594
Sherman1573
Wheeler1091
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4854041

Reported Deaths: 71417
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148510526549
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3678574183
San Bernardino3586775720
Orange3251235578
Sacramento1596362313
Kern1472941652
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921415
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen758747
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
Out of CA00
Medford
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 53°
Brookings
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 54°
Crater Lake
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 53°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 53°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 42°
Lingering showers today
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events