News, Oregon Department of Forestry, Wildfire

Local firefighters still helping at Texas wildfires

Fire crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry, including one local firefighter based out of the Forest Grove District, are still in Texas, helping other fire agencies battle deadly wildfires that have wracked the state.

Originally deployed as part of a mutual aid strike team Friday, March 1, Oregon sent 16 firefighters and five engines to Amarillo, Texas.

“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.

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.

“Sending our firefighters on these out-of-state deployments helps them build relationships outside of our organization, learn new suppression tactics and gives them the opportunity to fight fire in a different landscape,” The ODF said. “These off-season deployments keep their skills sharp so they can come back to Oregon with new knowledge that can be applied to our future fire seasons.”

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

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