SVFR firefighters demobilize, return home from California fires

15 strike teams from Oregon were involved in suppression efforts in Southern California

Dec. 20, 2017 — The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office has reported that all 15 Oregon strike teams, including firefighters from Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue (SVFR), are demobilizing and will soon be returning to their home stations.

“We are extremely pleased with the performance of our strike teams,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “Our teams have played an important role helping our neighbors to the south and all of Oregon can be proud of the professionalism and effectiveness of our resources while dealing with these difficult fires.”

SVFR sent a crew of seven — two full-time firefighters and five volunteer firefighters — to assist with firefighting efforts in Southern California on Dec. 12.

Operations Chief Jim Dickerson said, “The crew of Jeff Larson, Kyle Orosco and Colten Griswold have been on the Thomas fire the entire two-week deployment. A crew of four was deployed the next day, and that crew deployed on both the Thomas fire and the Lilac fire in San Diego during the deployment. Shannon Curry, Levi Green, Andy Gray and PJ Crescioni were manning that engine.”

The firefighters worked a “24 on, 24 off” schedule and gained valuable experience working with other agencies, Dickerson said, which will translate to improved responses for those served by SVFR.

“The experience that crews gain in these deployments further solidifies our training and community preparedness programs. SVFR was glad to be able to send the crews to assist the firefighters,” Dickerson said. “We continue to build our volunteer ranks to meet such requests as well as offer uninterrupted quality service.”

Updated information from the office of the California State Fire Marshal indicates the Thomas fire has burned approximately 271,750 acres and is currently 50 percent contained.

More than a thousand structures have been destroyed, causing more than $140 million dollars in damage.

There has been no civilian loss of life in the current California fires, although one firefighter died.

 As of Tuesday at noon, California fire officials rescinded evacuation orders for many previously restricted parts of Santa Barbara County.

Emergency conditions can arise at any time and SVFR is working with Lane County to address ongoing demands for blood products by holding a blood drive on Friday, Dec. 22, for Lane Bloodworks.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at SVFR Station No. 1. It will be closed for a one-hour lunch at 11:30 a.m.

Individuals interested in donating should bring a photo ID, have a good meal two to four hours before donating, drink lots of water and not participate in strenuous activity for 12 hours after donating.

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