Over 70 firefighters participating in wildfire training Friday


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More than 70 firefighters from 42 separate agencies are in Mollala for training to combat wildfires this Friday.

Crews are lighting and putting out live fires with fire helicopters. Their training runs until four this afternoon.

There are currently three large wildfires burning across Oregon.

“There’s a lot of firefighters that are new to wildland. They have experience in structural, but the wildland scene is different, unique from a structure fire,” said Rich Tyler spokesperson for the Oregon State Fire Marshal

One of the things firefighters practice during training is communication between other firefighters and aerial resources.

“That communication component is very important. If you’re doing it out there at the wildfire, that’s not the time to practice,” Tyler said.

The Milepost 85 Fire near The Dalles has burned 170 acres and is 70% contained after forcing evacuation orders earlier this week. Out in Klamath County, the Sycan River Fire is 50% contained and has burned more than 600 acres since the end of May. There is no word on a cause for either of the blazes.

Firefighters have the Mehl Creek Fire in Douglas County 80% contained after it burned about 100 acres this week. Investigators say it was human-caused.

Albany Fire Department Lt. Tom Henke said he is worried about this year’s fire season.

“A lot of it is wait and see but I think even as a home owner I’m a little bit nervous,” he said. “You dig into the soil and it’s dry already.”

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