Two crews from Douglas County are in California to help fight some of the fires that are being fanned by heavy winds.
Two three-man crews, one from the Douglas County Fire District No. 2 and one from the Roseburg Fire Department, arrived Sunday in northern California along with eight other strike teams from Oregon, to assist with wildfire incidents threatening structures and property.
Rudy Owens, a spokesman for the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office in Salem, said the two Douglas County fire crews were dispatched to the Burris Fire in Mendocino County about 100 miles north of Santa Rosa, California. The fire has been burning since the evening of Oct. 23.
“They were securing the fire line and laying the hose for the water and putting out the hot spots before the strong winds came in again,” Owens said.
The firefighters completed a 24-hour shift where they spent five hours on the Twin Fire, then went to the East Fire and after finishing there, they returned back to the Burris Fire to continue work on that.
The Burris Fire has burned more than 350 acres and was 75% contained as of Wednesday morning.
The Oregon contingent is is led by Assistant Chief Les Hallman of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.
The mobilized strike teams are made up of 271 personnel and come from Klamath, Douglas, Yamhill, Linn, Columbia, Clatsop, Benton, Multnomah, Marion, Washington, Clackamas, Lincoln, Jackson, Josephine and Lane counties.
“We’re always willing to help out our neighbors whether it’s in the county, in state or across the border because that’s what we do, we help each other out,” Roseburg Fire Chief Gary Garrisi said.
Fire District No. 2 sent three firefighters and one brush rig to aid the firefighting efforts.
“We’re happy when we’ve got people available to be able to send down and help because at some point in time, we may need the same help up here,” said Fire District No. 2 Chief Rob Bullock.
Owens said the firefighters will likely remain on the fire for 14 to 16 days before coming home. The support for the crews from the public, he said, has been overwhelming.
“The amount of support that the fire team is getting in the way of comments on social media and other places, just a tremendous amount of support from Oregonians supporting what the fire service from across the state is doing to help the neighbors to the south,” Owens said.