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BEND, OR -- Fire season may be winding down but it’s certainly not over, yet. Deschutes County has so far avoided a catastrophic wildfire this year, but Emergency Manager Nathan Garibay was still heavily involved elsewhere. "We responded to both Baker and Grant counties to assist them with the emergency response capability coordination, and then help to try and transition those communities, with obviously the huge help of the Red Cross and other community partners into a recovery mode. My role is that of a coordination role to ensure that the emergency responders, the different agencies and organization that come to bare on a significant event; ensuring that they can communicate, that they can work together, that they understand each other’s missions and roles."

 

Lisa Stroup, Executive Director of our local Red Cross Chapter, also spent the summer helping those impacted by fires across Central and Eastern Oregon. She tells KBND she saw first hand how preparedness efforts pay off. "The folks that understood what 'ready, set go, Level 1, level 2, level 3' meant, those folks were ahead of the game. They had their pets planned for, they had their documents, they knew what they were leaving, they had their car full of gas. They knew when the Sheriff showed up and said 'level 1, level 2, level 3' what that meant for their family. The folks that didn’t know that, it puts them in danger"
 
And, she says although evacuation orders have been lifted, the work of the Red Cross is not yet finished. "So then, you’re looking at bulk distribution as people return to their homes, and start to look at things. What do they need? Gloves, shovels, ash-sifters, water, maybe someone on the scene in case they fall and cut themselves, or they need some emotional support. And then from there, we’ll move into casework and assistance."
 
To hear our full conversation with DCSO Emergency Mgr. Nathan Garibay and Red Cross Director Lisa Stroup, visit our Podcast page

 

Oregon’s largest wildfire of the season was in Grant County; the Canyon Creek Complex destroyed more than 40 homes. It has burned more than 110,000 acres and is now 87% contained. In Baker County, the Eagle Complex is 75% contained at 12,763 acres. And, Central Oregon’s largest fire – County Line 2 – burned over 67,000 acres near Warm Springs; it’s nearly 100% contained.

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