Fifteen strike teams comprised of members of the Oregon fire service arrived in California Oct. 27 and have been assigned to assist with separate wildfire incidents threatening structures and property.
Following a late afternoon briefing with California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection officials in Redding, California, Oregon’s strike teams are being deployed to two separate incidents.
One group, comprised of six strike teams, headed by Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple, of the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM), is being sent to the Burris Fire, a 250-acre fire in Mendocino County. The second group, comprised of nine teams, headed by Assistant Chief Les Hallman of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, has been assigned to respond to the larger Kincaid Fire in Sonoma County.
The mobilized strike teams, comprising 271 personnel total, have been sent from the following counties: Klamath, Douglas, Yamhill, Linn, Columbia, Clatsop, Benton, Multnomah, Marion, Washington, Clackamas, Lincoln, Jackson, Josephine, and Lane counties.
The OSFM mobilized the teams following a request through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) from California. The request allows for the OSFM to mobilize resources through the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System (OFMAS). The teams are comprised of Oregon’s structural firefighting agencies, which provide structural firefighting and all-hazards assistance.
The current deployment marks the third year in a row that the OSFW has mobilized strike teams through the OFMAS and deployed them to support firefighting efforts in California, following requests made through the EMAC.
In 2018, the OSFM sent three strike teams to the Mendocino Complex Fire starting in late July 2018, and then another 15 strike teams to the Camp Fire in November 2018. In October 2018, also through an EMAC request, the OSFM sent two incident management teams to Florida to respond to Hurricane Michael.