In Central Oregon right now, as wildfires rage, four U.K.-based firefighters who came to learn more about fighting woodland fires have been helping with eclipse preparedness, too.
David Hodge, a firefighter for over 27 years, says he and his colleagues are happy to be part of the process. "During the eclipse, two of the firefighters will be embedded here to deal with local emergencies with the Sisters / Camp Sherman personnel, and the two officers - myself and my colleague - we're going to be embedded within the Multi-Agency Command Center at Redmond during the period of the eclipse, so we'll be starting that from tomorrow until Tuesday."
Hodge, who's visiting Bend on the Firefighter Exchange Program for the second time, says they came to Central Oregon at this time of year because of the eclipse preparedness that's going on. "That's precisely why we came at this time of year, just so we can experience the command structure, and the increased operational experiences during the period of the eclipse when you have so many visitors visit this lovely area."
Hodge says he and his colleagues haven't seen disaster preparedness on this scale before, and they're learning a lot. "It's an experience that we've not seen any preparation work at this level, and that's why it's a really good experience for us. The local emergency services and local partner agencies have done an amazing job preparing for the eclipse, so they're ready for any eventuality that might occur, and that's definitely an experience we can take back to the U.K. with us."
The last solar eclipse that took place in Great Britian was actually overcast, so the four visitors were looking forward to seeing 'a proper one' this morning.