CAMP RILEA, Ore. - Wildland firefighter training wrapped up at this military training center on the Oregon coast today for some 300 Oregon National Guard members.
Last year, more than 700 Oregon National Guard members were mobilized during the peak of fire season to help firefighters battle a number of persistent large wildfires statewide. That year, Guard members did not receive the week-long training until they were mobilized. This year, thanks to changes in how federal training funds can be used, the Guard could train before being mobilized to a wildfire.
ODF's Deputy Chief of Fire Protection Russ Lane said several hundred other Oregon Guard troops who trained last year have completed or soon will complete required refresher training. That gives the state access to the same number of Oregon National Guard member as last year.
Holding the training earlier in the summer also frees up instructors during peak fire activity, Lane said, making them available to help their agencies manage wildfires.
Right: Oregon National Guard members
gather around their instructor
before a firefighting field exercise
at Camp Rilea on Oregon's north coast.