Oregon fire crews help battle blazes in Northern California


LNU Lightning Complex fire estimated at 131,000 acres by Thursday afternoon

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Wildfire season is in full swing up and down the Western United States and crews are crossing state lines to help control the flames.

Oregon fire crews from Marion, Linn and Clatsop counties traveled to Northern California this week to assist in the attack on the LNU Lightning Complex fire. By Thursday, it was burning more than 130,000 acres across five counties, including Napa County.

The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal mobilized multiple tasks forces after California made a request through the state-to-state mutual aid system.

“California got hit pretty hard for the past couple of days. They were needing some additional support,” said Claire McGrew, the assistant chief deputy for the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal. “Weather patterns were looking quite a bit better for us in the state of Oregon and so we were able to supply a small amount of teams down here at the LNU Lightning Complex.”

Dozens of homes have already been destroyed and urgent evacuations have been issued. McGrew explained that the “complex” in the fire’s name is because it encompasses multiple small fires which altogether stretch across about 131,000 acres.

“Lots of complexities in this fire because you have so many smaller pieces you have to manage and it requires a lot of skill and finess in doing that,” McGrew said.

More reinforcements were expected to arrive by the end of Thursday.

Meanwhile, multiple fires continue to burn in Oregon. The Mosier Creek Fire and Sevenmile Hill Fire, both near The Dalles in the Columbia River Gorge, necessitated Level 3 evacuations hours after they began. Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency on Wednesday due to the imminent threat of wildfires across the state. The state of emergency gives the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal access to extra personnel, equipment and resources from other state agencies.

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