SALEM, Ore. – Sept. 4, 2015 – Members of the Oregon National Guard are conducting wildfire cleanup operations in support of ongoing firefighting efforts throughout Oregon.;
The Oregon Soldiers are among more than 2,060 personnel on orders in five Western states pitching in to fight the blazes that have made this fire season particularly stubborn.
Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, on Thursday visited Soldiers fighting fires in Washington state.
“When we see the tally at the end of fire season, it’s going to be among the longest,” Grass said in remarks reported by local news media.
Following the activation of the Oregon National Guard by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in August, approximately 375 Soldiers and Airmen completed training at the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), in Salem, Oregon, and deployed to fire camps throughout the state.
The first group of 125 Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers deployed on August 26 to the Canyon Creek Complex near John Day, Oregon.
An additional 250 Soldiers and Airmen from Oregon National Guard units throughout the state deployed August 30 to firebases in eastern and central Oregon.
The Oregon National Guard has an ongoing agreement with the Oregon Department of Forestry known as Operation Plan Smokey, which stipulates the details of how Oregon National Guard members will be utilized to assist in firefighting efforts. This agreement is reviewed by both agencies annually to remain up-to-date for each fire season.
Besides Washington and Oregon, National Guard personnel are assisting crews in California, Idaho and Montana. Four Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems, or MAFFS from California and Wyoming have been enlisted in the firefighting efforts, according to the National Guard Bureau.