PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More than a dozen fire crews from Oregon are in California Monday, as strong winds continued fueling California wildfires.
Around 300 firefighters across 15 Oregon counties were deployed to two of California’s major fires on Sunday. California Governor Gavin Newsom had already declared a state of emergency with thousands of residents under mandatory evacuation orders, and millions without power to prevent transmitters from sparking more fires.
The last of the 15 crews arrived Sunday night. Six teams went out to the Burris Fire in Mendocino County. Nine were stationed at the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County. Those firefighters woke up early Monday morning to start battling the blaze as forecasters predict conditions will worsen with another red flag warning set for Tuesday.
Some crews, including Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue firefighters, were working in Santa Rosa Monday, focusing on homes that were threatened by the encroaching fire.
“The big concern now is to be ready for another wind shift overnight,” said TVF&R Assistant Chief Les Hallman.
The fire has grown to 75,000 acres and is only 15% contained.
The Kincade Fire and the fire in Mendocino County have already forced at least 200,000 people from their homes.
“Any time you get over 30-mile-per-hour, 40-mile-per-hour winds, it’s extremely dangerous,” said Hallman. “The fire starts moving very, very fast. This fire is spotting a mile out. That means embers that blow a mile away are starting additional fires.”
Officials said strong winds are fueling the fires across the state. Hallman said the dry weather is fanning the flames.
“You can’t help but feel the emotional part because they have lost so many homes here,” said Hallman. “We come down here and help California knowing that if we had a catastrophic event in Oregon, they are going to help us. So it is neighbors helping neighbors.”
Oregon crews will be fighting fires for two weeks before they return home. The last time Oregon’s firefighters were deployed to assist with a blaze in California was November 2018 for the Camp Fire, which killed 85 people—the deadliest fire in the state’s history.