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Forestry Workers Prepare for the 2018 Fire Season

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry is hard at work preparing for the next batch of wildfires, they say.

Posted: Apr 23, 2018 5:11 PM
Updated: Apr 23, 2018 5:36 PM

SALEM, Ore. — After enduring such a dramatic fire season in 2017, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) says that they are getting ready for whatever 2018 has to throw at them.

“We work to ensure firefighters are equipped and ready to respond quickly and effectively to wildfires all year, with a special emphasis on being staffed and ready for the drier months,” said Blake Ellis, ODF's Interim Fire Operations Manager. "We essentially double our firefighting forces going into the summer, when wildfire risk is highest.”

For the ODF, being prepared for the next fire season means a whole host of preparations—ensuring that contracts and agreements for firefighting equipment and aircraft have been signed, creating new policies to employ drones, hiring and training seasonal firefighters at ODF and interagency fire schools in June, giving refresher fire line courses to returning firefighters, and cleaning/rolling hundreds of miles of fire hose.

Last year, ODF began testing infrared technology in earnest—installing infrared equipment on aircraft to see through heavy smoke at some of Oregon's most virulent fires, like Horse Prairie and Eagle Creek. According to ODF, this imaging can allow fire managers to better accomplish real-time fire mapping and tactical planning. This year will see ODF using the new technology.

Contracted aircraft flew 1,477 hours on firefighting missions for ODF last year—more than 100 hours above average, according to ODF's Aviation Manager Neal Laugle. In recent years, various types of aircraft have become more and more vital in combating wildfires.

“From detection to fire mapping and active wildfire suppression, aircraft continue to play a critical role in the fight to save lives, resources and property,” said Laugle.

ODF will continue to have access to aviation resources from other states and federal agencies upon request. 

“We have 27 aircraft based across the state, including helicopters, fixed-wing detection planes, single-engine air tankers and a large airtanker, all of which we’ve secured for our exclusive use. We also have call-when needed agreements with a number of companies for additional firefighting aircraft. Among these agreements is one for the use of a 747 modified to carry 19,000 gallons of retardant should the situation warrant,” said Laugle.

“Uncontrolled fires can be devastating. Our relationships with our partners are invaluable to support prevention and suppression efforts statewide," said Ellis.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 4131

Reported Deaths: 151
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Marion94225
Washington72217
Clackamas30511
Deschutes1210
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Polk9811
Yamhill697
Lane682
Jackson650
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Malheur320
Coos310
Jefferson280
Douglas260
Josephine231
Wasco221
Columbia160
Hood River140
Lincoln120
Morrow120
Curry70
Crook60
Union60
Tillamook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

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Reported Deaths: 4077
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Orange5923145
San Bernardino5034199
Alameda319595
Santa Clara2707140
San Francisco247341
Kern207637
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Tulare184484
Fresno165832
Santa Barbara163612
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Contra Costa140437
Sacramento137356
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San Joaquin85834
Kings7143
Stanislaus68328
Sonoma5314
Solano50922
Monterey47710
Marin43614
Merced2807
San Luis Obispo2691
Yolo20723
Santa Cruz2062
Placer1999
Napa1113
Humboldt983
Madera982
San Benito852
El Dorado840
Del Norte440
Butte440
Sutter422
Nevada411
Shasta374
Mono351
Mendocino300
Yuba291
Lake230
Inyo201
Mariposa161
Calaveras150
Glenn140
Amador100
Siskiyou70
Colusa50
Lassen50
Tuolumne40
Plumas40
Tehama41
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
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