PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — During what officials are calling the “heart of fire season,” the Oregon State Fire Marshal has pre-positioned crews in Central Oregon in case a brush fire or wildfire erupts.
“We’re using the power of the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System to move resources and add capacity to respond to any fire that may spark,” Oregon State Fire Marshall Mariana Ruiz-Temple said in a statement. “Our goal is to keep fires small and away from communities.”
Twenty-five firefighters with Clatsop County and Washington County task forces will be in Jefferson County for at least 72 hours, with eight engines and two water tenders to boost capacity for firefighting.
According to OSFM Public Affairs Director Alison Green, this is the agency’s first pre-positioning assignment of the summer.
“[Crews] left Friday morning to go join partners in Central Oregon, where essentially they’re experiencing quite a bit of red flag warnings — so hot, dry weather, as well as some lightning,” Green told KOIN 6.
If a fire doesn’t erupt, firefighters can utilize this time to cross-train with the crews they don’t typically work with. Green said this allows firefighters to get to know a different fire district, so the relationships and training are stronger in time for the next incident.
Although weather conditions can worsen wildfire risk, Green added that OSFM has seen an uptick in fires caused by humans. Back in May, officials told KOIN 6 that humans were responsible for 70% of blazes across the state.
Green advised Oregonians to be vigilant during these dry conditions. She suggested keeping campfires cold to the touch, and not dragging trailer chains while driving.