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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Oregonians return home from Florida inspired and humbled

Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) IMT’s returned home from Florida yesterday, Oct. 27 after a 14-day assignment. Their mission was in Bay County in the Florida Panhandle, where they integrated with IMTs from Mississippi and Florida. The unified IMT provided leadership to the county for emergency management response by deploying resources for search and rescue. The team then shifted into recovery mode by helping residents obtain transitional housing and getting kids back into schools.
OSFM and ODF team in Bay County, Florida
supporting the cleanup efforts for Hurricane Michael.

Incident Commander Ted Kunze said, “OSFM and ODF working in unified command along with the IMTs from other states optimized our resources and created a robust IMT, which allowed us to get started quickly and efficiently on our search and rescue mission. I feel we all represented Oregon very well.”

The team spent time in Mexico Beach, where the eye made landfall. Tens of thousands of tarps have been distributed in Bay County. They were in total awe of the spirit of the people here and the outpouring of volunteers throughout the county from all over the country. A funeral was held Wednesday for the Bay County firefighter killed last week. The Oregon IMT is donating $1,000 to the family. 

In Mexico Beach, Florida, tarps distributed cover roofs.
Although the recovery efforts posed some challenges, the team describes their mission as very inspiring and humbling. They are very proud of the work done by both of our teams in helping Floridians put the pieces back together again.

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Comments and questions

The purpose of this blog is to provide breaking news about wildfire activity on the forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. We invite you to post questions or comments about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity.

Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters predictions that Oregon would see above average temperatures and below average rainfall in the summer of 2018 proved true. Almost all of Oregon was abnormally dry this summer, with a majority of the state in moderate to severe drought. Many areas posted record high temperatures or record strings of hot days. These conditions set the stage for potentially large, fast-moving wildfires.

What we do

Protection jurisdiction
The Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects 16 million acres of private and public forestlands from wildfire. This includes all private forestlands in Oregon as well as state and local government-owned forests, along with 2.8 million acres of federal Bureau of Land Management lands in the western part of the state. In total there are about 30.4 million acres of forest in Oregon.

Fire suppression policy
The department fights fire aggressively, seeking to put out most fires at 10 acres or smaller. This approach minimizes damage to the timber resource and fish and wildlife habitat, and protects lives and property. It also saves money. While suppressing large fires can cost millions of dollars, economic and environmental damage from wildfires can be many times greater.


About Me

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Oregon Dept. of Forestry's public information officers in Salem, Ore., maintain this blog. During the wildfire season, we spend much of our time reporting on fires and firefighting to news media and the public.