Banks Fire District, News, wildfire

Banks, Forest Grove fire crews head to Wasco County to fight Miller Road Fire

A fire that began in Wasco County Tuesday afternoon grew to an estimated 10,500 acres Thursday, according to the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal. 

Among those battling the wildfire are crews from Banks Fire District and Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, who joined a task force of other Washington County Fire agencies, including crews from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and the Hillsboro Fire & Rescue and headed to the Miller Road Fire Wednesday. 

The blaze prompted Oregon Governor Kate Brown to invoke the state’s Emergency Conflagration Act to open up more resources to fight the fire just hours after the blaze began.

“I have invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act to make more state resources available to the fire crews on the front lines in Wasco County at the Miller Road/Dodge Fire,” said Governor Kate Brown. “With many fires actively burning across the state and several weeks of peak fire season ahead of us, I am urging all Oregonians to be prepared and do their part to help prevent wildfires – just one spark can light a fire that will quickly spread. Please continue to follow local and statewide fire prevention regulations and share what you know with others. Every fire we prevent helps us keep our communities and firefighters safe, and our natural resources protected.”

From Banks Fire District, two volunteer firefighters— Julie Kemper and Andrew King—departed Wednesday in the district’s Brush Rig 13, while Forest Grove Fire & Rescue sent a lieutenant and a firefighter on a Cornelius Heavy Brush vehicle, along with a Division Chief leading the group. 

“We always make sure we can meet the needs of our own District,” said Banks Fire District  Chief Linz in a statement, “and then we will do what we can to help our neighbors both locally and across the state.” 

“We are still staffed with units to respond on calls in our own area if they occur,” Forest Grove Fire said. Locally, fire season in this part of Oregon has been fairly mild, with the NW Oregon district entering fire season last.

While most deployments last just a few days, the firefighters could end up gone for 14 days or even longer as conditions warrant, said Banks Fire spokesperson Scott Adams.

On Thursday, the Miller Road Fire had claimed at least one home, and crews had called in support from aircraft to try to contain the fire. Several fire lines were built with the aid of dozers and hand crews. 

Locally, fire season in this part of Oregon has been fairly mild, with the NW Oregon district entering fire season later than other areas of the state.
Areas protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in the area remain at “moderate” fire danger.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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