MEDFORD, Ore. -- Wildfires don't know boundaries or county lines but when there's a threat to property and lives, neither do firefighters. This week, Jackson County fire districts leaped into action to assist their fellow firefighters in Josephine County. The strike team is made up of a single engine and crew from Medford Fire-Rescue, Ashland Fire-Rescue, Jackson County Fire District 3, and Jackson County Fire District 5. This week teams prepped and protected homes in the Galice area for the Taylor Creek Fire.
"We'll come and do some prep as far as clearing out brush around their houses, clearing out their gutters, cutting down any brush or trees that need to be cut down and then putting some hose lines around the house to really prepare for when that fire comes," said Deputy Chief Justin Bates with Medford Fire-Rescue.
Simple maintenance like cutting grass or cleaning gutters can make a huge difference when it comes to protecting a home from an oncoming wildfire.
"Usually it's not this big wall of fire like people think. Sometimes it is but more often than not, it's little embers that will blow on to your house," said Bates. "Any place an ember could land and start a fire is what we're trying to avoid."
Once homes are prepped, the team will sometimes place themselves between a home and incoming fire or let wildland firefighters take over. The Rogue Valley #2 Strike Team recently finished prepping and protecting homes for the Taylor Creek Fire but are still providing this help to homes affected by the Miles fire.
Fire officials say homeowners should take steps to protect their homes now to enhance the survivability of their home in the event of a wildfire:
- Clean out gutters
- Clean debris off of your roof
- Keep grass surrounding your home short (within fire season restrictions)
- Keep logs away from home
When Governor Kate Brown declared the Garner Complex and Sugar Pine fires as conflagrations, and resources from across the state were sent in to help, including the Rogue Valley #2 Strike Team. The Taylor Creek Fire was originally part of the Garner Complex and the Sugar Pine Fire merged with the Miles Fire and is now know as just the Miles Fire.