Local crews head to California to help fight fires - KPTV - FOX 12

Local crews head to California to help fight fires

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Two-hundred Oregon firefighters mobilized and started heading south Tuesday night to help out on the fire lines in California.

The firefighters helping out in California are from 50 fire departments around the state, including Portland Fire, Gresham Fire and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.

A TVF&R firefighter who typically works at Station 34 gave an update to FOX 12 on the wildfires.

"The whole Napa Valley in this area and Sonoma is socked in with smoke, so we couldn't see a whole lot," said Patrick Fale.

On Wednesday afternoon, Fale arrived in Napa ready to help local crews battle the relentless wildfires, and he brought plenty of reinforcements.

"Hillsboro, TVF&R, Cornelius, Forest Grove and Banks. This is your Washington County strike team," Fale said.

California officials issued a multi-state request Tuesday night, activating Oregon crews that were fighting the Eagle Creek Fire just two weeks ago.

"Oregon is lucky to have a pretty healthy fire response system. Just being able to mobilize 10 strike teams in about six hours really shows that," said Fale.

It has been a rough wildfire season in Oregon, but Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple says firefighter fatigue is not even a consideration.

"We feel confident in them, they are comfortable with it. This is what they train for, this is what's in their blood," said Ruiz-Temple. "I know some California teams came up and helped us in the Gorge, so to be able to reciprocate in their time of need is an absolute honor."

Fale says they've been briefed on the conditions and fire behavior. So even though it's new territory, there's no fear, just a solid focus on a common goal.

"Our whole mission is to go help people. And if it's helping them in Oregon or if it's helping them in California, we're all in," Fale said.

Oregon firefighters have been told to be prepare to be in California for about two weeks.

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