News, Oregon, wildfire

Second firefighting team from Oregon sent to replace first team in Texas

After two weeks battling wildfires in Texas, a strike team sent by the Oregon Department of Forestry headed home—and were immediately replaced by a second team of Oregon firefighters, including two local firefighters based out of the Forest Grove District.

Originally deployed as part of a mutual aid strike team Friday, March 1, Oregon sent 16 firefighters and five engines to Amarillo, Texas. One of those firefighters was a local firefighter based out of the Forest Grove District, which covers territory in and near Gales Creek and the greater Banks region and the Tillamook State Forest.

“Members of the Strike Team are engaged, motivated and highly cohesive, and are receiving experience and interactions with southern fire organizations that they wouldn’t normally get over the past week,” the Oregon Department of Forestry said Monday. “Thank you Texans for your outpouring of southern hospitality,” the state agency added.

The new strike team, who took over March 18, has even more local representation: an ODF spokesperson told this newspaper in an email that now there are two Forest Grove District firefighters in the second team, and one of them is the Strike Team Leader.

Oregon also takes aid from other states during severe wildfire events; in 2023, Oregon was aided by 173 out-of-state firefighters, according to the ODF.

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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