(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown announced today that she is activating an additional 250 Oregon National Guard members for on-the-ground support to fight wildfires.
“With up to a couple months of fire season still ahead of us, and many large fires currently underway, we will need to be ready to put more boots on the ground,” Governor Brown said. “Oregon National Guard citizen soldiers will be ready for activation to provide the reinforcements necessary to get the job done.”
The additional 250 Guard members will begin their training at the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training in Salem next week. They will follow 125 Oregon National Guard members activated by the Governor earlier this week. The first group of 125 members is expected to deploy to fires on Wednesday.
Since July 31, the Oregon National Guard has provided air resources for fire suppression use and medical evacuation.
This year’s historic drought conditions, along with summer’s high temperatures, lightning events, low humidity, and high winds, have combined to make this the worst fire season Oregon has seen in a generation.
“We knew this was going to be a tough fire season, so we started preparations earlier and expanded resources, including five additional aircraft and 500 more firefighters than last season,” Governor Brown said. “I am grateful to be able to call upon our partners in the National Guard to help see us through, and I appreciate all of the first responders, landowners, and contractors working around the clock to help protect Oregonians.
“Prevention is crucial. We need every Oregonian and visitor to be fire-savvy and aware of fire restrictions and common-sense practices.”