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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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Cases: 66333

Reported Deaths: 826
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah15240213
Washington903896
Marion8436130
Clackamas547276
Umatilla415648
Lane389037
Jackson343623
Malheur231839
Deschutes195514
Yamhill158216
Linn127518
Polk107615
Douglas82215
Jefferson77311
Benton7197
Union7172
Klamath6854
Morrow6257
Lincoln56513
Wasco47918
Josephine4434
Columbia4383
Coos3901
Hood River3661
Clatsop3350
Baker2593
Crook1986
Grant1231
Tillamook1120
Curry1052
Lake1010
Harney871
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler30
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1128219

Reported Deaths: 18753
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3706367446
San Bernardino851761129
Riverside815651413
San Diego72815968
Orange711161554
Kern38519445
Fresno36315471
Sacramento33421546
Santa Clara31103464
Alameda27622499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22482258
Stanislaus20658418
Tulare19818303
Ventura18105174
Imperial15257355
San Francisco14542158
Monterey13887114
San Mateo13334169
Sonoma11486155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10946133
Kings1011586
Solano936380
Marin7560128
Placer607167
Madera588580
San Luis Obispo566435
Yolo425775
Shasta410042
Santa Cruz389627
Butte371259
Napa277817
Sutter267713
El Dorado19304
San Benito174615
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama145723
Mendocino142422
Nevada10529
Lake83418
Glenn8326
Humboldt7849
Tuolumne7848
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo27916
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Modoc1140
Trinity1140
Mariposa1122
Alpine420
Sierra170
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