Banks Fire District firefighters and other area agencies prepare to deploy to central Oregon. Photo: TVF&R

Local firefighters from Washington County and the Oregon Department of Forestry are providing aid to other Oregon counties anticipating potential fires in central Oregon and currently battling blazes in southern Oregon as most of the state enters an extended hot and dry period. 

Among those headed to central Oregon are firefighters from Banks Fire District 13, Hillsboro Fire & Rescue, and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue. Crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry went further south and have been fighting the Cutoff Fire near Bonanza, Ore. since Sunday.

“Many staff from [Northwest Oregon Forest Protective Association] are assisting on that fire and gaining valuable experience,” said ODF Forest Grove District Forester Mike Cafferata in an email. 

In central Oregon, a thunderstorm is threatening to ignite wildfires. 

“Thunderstorms are expected in that area, so this is a proactive stage requested by the state to help local resources in the event a wildfire breaks out,” TVF&R said in a statement.

“Banks Fire District #13 is part of the proactive attempts at protecting Oregon from an early wildfire season by sending 4 personnel in 2 apparatus to Central Oregon this morning,” said Banks Fire District spokesperson Scott Adams in a statement on June 22. “ These crews are ready to be gone for up to 2 weeks per deployment but this one is not expected to be that long.  

We are part of a state wide program that analyzes resources and moves them around the state in response to the greatest need. What crews and apparatus we are able to send is decided after a close review of our needs here at home and making sure that with our remaining resources as well as our partner agencies our local area can remain fully protected. As the State also pays for the use of our vehicles and crews it also helps us be good stewards of our local community's dollars.”

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue said that the deployment was expected to last around 72 hours.