Banks Fire District, CALIFORNIA, Fire

Some Washington County fire crews still assisting at California wildfires

Banks Fire District 13 members aid in firefighting efforts at the Kincade Fire in California. Photo: Banks Fire District

CALIFORNIA – While some of the 15 Oregon teams comprised of more than 60 fire & rescue agencies sent to aid during a series of wildfires in California have returned home, crews from Washington County and other Oregon fire agencies have remained to assist, with Washington County crews being assigned to a new fire, the 3,768 acre Ranch Fire near Red Bluff in northern California. 

According to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, crews from Lane, Washington, and Yamhill County began 24 hour shifts today to battle the fire. 

“For some strike teams, this is their third fire on this deployment,” the OSFM said in a statement on their Facebook page.

According to Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, their crews were on their way home on November 4, but made it as far as Redding, Calif. before changing plans and staying to help out at the new fire. 

Crews from Oregon stage near the flames of the Ranch Fire. Photo: OSFM

“We were expecting to see the crew of Heavy Brush 4 and a Division Chief return home yesterday. But when they woke up from their stay in Redding, they were assigned to this new fire near Red Bluff,” the agency said on their Facebook page. 

As of 1 p.m. November 6, the Ranch Fire was at 15% containment, according to Cal Fire, California’s statewide fire agency. 

“Firefighters continue to be challenged with difficult access, steep terrain and significant fire behavior. Dry and warm conditions remain forecast which will be a contributing factor influencing fire activity,” read a press release from Cal Fire. 

A Forest Grove Fire & Rescue vehicle at the Ranch Fire in California. Photo: FGF&R.

Oregon’s crews were initially assigned to two fires upon their arrival in California on Sunday, October 27. 

Six strike teams were sent to the Burris Fire in Mendocino County, while nine teams headed to the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, a 77,758 acre blaze that sits at 88% containment, according to Cal Fire. 

“It’s very humbling to be a part of a large scale mobilization of resources and see how quickly Oregon can responded in a time of need,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker in a press release when crews were initially sent to California. “To assemble 75 fire engines and 271 firefighters in a matter of hours to respond to our neighbors in need is extraordinary. I appreciate the more than 60 fire agencies that answered the call, the work of our OSFM staff and Office of Emergency Management in assembling the response, and Chief Hallman of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and Chief Ruiz-Temple of OSFM in providing support for our firefighters while deployed to California. I truly appreciate all that you do.”

Banks, Forest Grove, Gaston, Cornelius, and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue crews packed up and headed south on the morning of Sunday, October 27, joining more than 270 other firefighters from Oregon.

From Banks Fire District, Timber resident lieutenant Scott Arlin, Buxton resident Engineer Julie Kemper, and Banks resident Duty Officer Chris Lanter volunteered to head to California, returning on November 3.

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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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