News, Oregon Department of Forestry, Wildfire

ODF sends fire crews to aid Texas wildfire fight

The Oregon Department of Forestry sent a strike team of 16 firefighters and five engines to Amarillo, Texas Friday to aid the state’s firefighters as they grapple with massive wildfires.

Firefighters headed for Amarillo, Texas Friday under mutual assistance agreements that allow for cross jurisdictional resource sharing.

“When wildfire activity is low in Oregon, firefighters can be spared to help in other places experiencing high levels of wildfire response,” the Oregon Department of Forestry said.

In Texas, the largest wildfires in the state’s history have burned more than 1,700 square miles, killed at least two people, burned hundreds of structures, and killed cattle in the Panhandle region, according to the Associated Press.

“We’re ready and willing to help whenever we receive the call from one of our partner states,” said Chris Cline, ODF’s Interim Fire Protection Division Chief. “It’s the right thing to respond when someone is in a time of need, and we are honored to have the opportunity to serve.”

In 2023, Oregon was aided by 173 out-of-state firefighters, according to the ODF.

“The relationships built through our assistance in other states not only benefits them, but also Oregonians as we reach out for help when our fire season hits its peak.” Cline said.

The group headed to Texas Friday includes one firefighter from ODF’s Forest Grove District, an ODF spokesperson told this newspaper.

“The firefighters come from each area in Oregon,” ODF spokesperson Jessica Neujahr said in an email.

Their work in Texas isn’t just a gesture of goodwill, either, but leave firefighters with practical skills that can be applied back home.

“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.”

+ posts

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.

Sign up for free Gales Creek news in your inbox ↓

Paid advertisements

The groceries your family needs!

New patients only, no cash value, cannot be combined with any other offers