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Wildland firefighters thankful for slow start to fire season

This coming Monday marks one year since the lightning storm that started a handful of major fires in our region, including the Garner Complex.

Posted: Jul 12, 2019 6:27 PM
Updated: Jul 14, 2019 6:33 PM

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. -- This coming Monday marks one year since the lightning storm that started a handful of major fires in our region, including the Garner Complex.

So far this season, we haven't had any major fires.

Oregon Department of Forestry Forest Officer Paris Drake said he's appreciating it while it lasts.

"This is a lot more typical to what we normally deal with so as far as how I feel compared to last year, much more relieved, much more at ease, not complacent, any any time we could still have a large one," Drake said. 

The 12-year ODF veteran said he a tense, uneasy feeling at the start of last year's fire season and could tell it was going to be a bad one.

"We only had a few fires honestly that got away from us," Drake said. 

For months, crews battled the Klondike and Taylor Creek Fires.

"They took a lot of our resources, a lot of our time off the Valley floor," Drake said. 

Wild land Fire Supervisor Matt Fumasi said this year's slow start to the season is giving crews a much-needed break.

"It's given us a lot more time for training, just to get crews and dispatchers ready for what's to come," Fumasi said. 

Paris thinks the slow start to this year's season is due to a combination of better weather and the lack of a severe lightning storm. He also gives credit to community members for focusing on fire safety.

"I think last season had an effect on everybody," Drake said. 

While he's relieved things are calm now, he says crews will not be letting their guards down because things can change on a dime.

"We're just basically ready for the next fire to pop," Drake said. 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 21010

Reported Deaths: 355
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Wallowa191
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Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant40
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