Resources from Portland metro area helping with McKinney Fire in Calif.

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 11:07 AM PDT
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SALEM, Ore. (KPTV) - Firefighters and resources from the Willamette Valley are heading to the quickly growing McKinney Fire in California near Oregon’s southern border.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office said task forces from Marion, Linn and Clackamas counties are heading out to help with the fire. The three task forces are made up of 41 firefighters, 12 engines and three water tenders. The fire marshal’s office received the request from California through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

“We got a request from the state of California through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact which is an agreement between states when they need help and they need resources,” said John Hendricks, OSFM Public Affairs Specialist. “We have an excellent relationship with our partners down in California. So when they ask for help, we are more than happy to send the help they need. Vice versa when we had the Bootleg Fire last year in Klamath and Lake Counties they sent resources up to help us with that fire.”

The Linn County Task Force gets prepared to leave to respond to the McKinney Fire in Calif.
The Linn County Task Force gets prepared to leave to respond to the McKinney Fire in Calif.(Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office)

The McKinney Fire, burning near Klamath, Calif., has caused Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue a state of emergency. It has burned more than 51,000 acres and is 0% contained. Firefighters said raging winds and dry brush are feeding the fire. More than 2,000 people have been evacuated.

OSFM said the task forces should be arriving at the fire on Sunday evening. They will be working for up to two weeks.

While OSFM says there are no activations or mobilizations in Oregon at this time, the heat wave has increased the fire danger in some portions of the state. Hendricks wants Oregonians to be aware of the conditions near them and to know firefighters are prepared.

“90s and 10 degrees for several days really dries out those fine fuels and then those bigger fuels across the state,” said Hendricks. “We are constantly monitoring the different conditions out there and making sure we have the appropriate response in case something happens. We are in the middle of summer and conditions are changing across the state. If you are traveling, be sure to check your tow chains. We don’t want those dragging on the ground, causing sparks that could ignite a wildfire. If you are mowing your lawn, maybe don’t do that in the afternoon hours when it’s hot and the grass it dry. The blades could hit a rock and spark a fire as well. Mother nature throws some curveballs every now and then with lightening in these conditions, so we are working to really handle that response. Anything Oregonians can do to help us and not cause a human caused fire, it’s appreciated.”