Cottage Grove crews head to California wildfires

The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal, through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, has activated its Agency Operations Center and 10 strike teams with equipment and personnel who are enroute to assist with the latest wildfires in California. 

South Lane County Fire and Rescue (SLFR) sent one fire engine and three staff to the fires that were sparked early this week and continue to grow.

"They were headed down and it's zero percent contained," SLFR Division Chief Joe Raade said. 

California fire officials submitted a request asking for assistance yesterday evening from Oregon. The OSFM activated its emergency mobilization plan, sending out the request for assistance to all Oregon fire agencies. 

"Oregon fire agencies have again answered the call and we are honored to assist our neighbors for the second time this year, said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. "California helped us with the fires in southern Oregon this year, we assisted them in October and I am proud that we can again assist them in their time of need."  

SLFR were joined by equipment and personnel from Siuslaw, McKenzie and Lane Fire Authority. 

"It's the first year the state of Oregon has provided mutual aid to California," Raade said.

Under the agreement, SLFR can remain in California for up to 14 days. However, according to Raade, California is footing the bill for personnel to fill-in for local staffers fighting the blaze in California, as well as renting the time of SLFR's engine. 

Both Oregon and California have had hectic wildlife seasons with Oregon's coming to a close earlier this year. The latest fire in California, burning in the Ventura area is being spread by the Santa Ana winds and dry conditions.

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