Oregon firefighters expected to spend Thanksgiving battling California wildfires

SUBLIMITY, OR (KPTV) - The roughly 300 Oregon firefighters deployed to aid in California’s wildfires aren’t expected to be home for Thanksgiving, according to the president of the Oregon State Fire Fighters Council.

Many of the teams are assigned to two-week deployments slated to return in the days after the holiday. There’s always a chance they could come home sooner.

FOX 12 spoke to one Sublimity family now planning for a Thanksgiving without a husband and father.

“It’s a little bit of a sacrifice for us, but it’s definitely worth it because that’s what we do for each other as communities,” Renee Rash said Monday. “We’re proud that he and his team can go down and support those families that are going through much worse than we are, of course.”

Rash’s husband, Marshall Rash, is a captain with the Salem Fire Department and a leader with the Marion County Strike Team. The team left for California Friday and spent Monday night protecting homes a few miles south of Paradise, where the Camp Fire is burning.

“I’m proud of him, I’m not scared,” said Rash’s son, Benjamin. “When he’s serving the fire department, that’s more important than being home with his kids, so as long as he’s doing his job, we’ll reschedule it and do it that way,” Benjamin added about his dad missing holidays.

For the family, occasionally spending the holidays apart comes with the territory, although they’ve been welcomed to the fire station to spend Thanksgivings and Christmases there when Rash is scheduled to work.

This Thanksgiving, Rash was planning to be off and spending the day with his family, until he got the call to California.

“That’s all right though,” Renee Rash said. “We’re just thankful for what we have, so we can’t really complain – we’ll Facetime him or something.”

FOX 12 also spoke to Marshall Rash briefly by phone Monday evening.

“It’s not usual for me to miss Thanksgiving,” Rash said, adding that it’s not a big deal.

What’s worse, he said, is the families who’ve lost their homes, family members and pets.

“That’s the real sad story,” Rash said.

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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