Banks Fire District is among several Washington County fire agencies that headed to central Oregon Friday morning in preparation for what could be a dangerous wildfire weekend for that region.
Dry lightning is forecast for many areas east of the Cascades, and much of the state is entering a Red Flag Warning, a National Weather Service designation that means the risk of wildfire is very high, usually due to high temperatures, wind and low humidity and other factors.
“The increased fire danger and the threat of dry lightning across portions of Oregon is concerning as we head into the weekend,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said in a press release. “We’re using the power of the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System to move resources and add capacity to respond to any fire that may spark. Our goal is to keep fires small and away from communities.”
Banks is joined by staff and vehicles from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, Hillsboro Fire & Rescue, and the Cornelius Fire Department. A similar task force of agencies from Clatsop County also left Friday for the same reason.
“We sent Brush Rig 13 along with Captain Sean McGonigal and Lieutenant Julie Kemper,” Banks Fire District Public Information Officer (PIO) Mitch Ward said in a message to the Banks Post.
A total of 15 firefighters from Washington County agencies headed to central Oregon, according to Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue PIO Corrine Haning.
Haning said in a phone call with the Banks Post that five of the firefighters were from TVF&R, while Cornelius said they had sent a firefighter.
“We will be deploying a Captain on a brush rig as well as a Division Chief as the task force leader to this pre-positioning deployment in Central Oregon,” Forest Grove Fire & Rescue said.
Firefighters are expected to be deployed for 72 hours, but could stay longer if they are needed, the office of the Oregon State Fire Marshal said.