BEND, OR -- Fires continue to rage throughout California, although the weather is helping. More than a dozen strike teams from Oregon are helping in the effort. Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe says local crews are in Santa Rosa working on fire prevention. "They're actually protecting structures. They'll go out and they'll remove any fuel that is laying around a house, they will limb up some trees to make sure there's not any ladder fuels, they will clear away as much of the stuff that can burn away from a house, basically prepare the house to be defended if it needs to be. Just making sure that nothing around the house can burn."
According to Howe, Oregon firefighters were more than willing to help. "The initial request was for 50 engines. So, Oregon Fire Marshal's Office put together 10 strike teams of different kinds of engines, and each strike team had five engines. And then, this last Saturday, they sent five additional strike teams and they went to Southern California. Our guys are in the Santa Rosa area. They're basically pulling from every county that they can, because our fire season is essentially over."
He expects Deschutes County crews will stay in California until the last week of October, "They probably won't be right on the fire line. These fires are so big and so imposing that you have to basically fight them indirectly, clearing the fuel away and making it as hard for the fire to progress as possible." Oregon's State Fire Marshal's Office says two strike teams are headed home to Marion, Jackson, and Josephine Counties Wednesday because conditions are improving.
Cal-Fire states that over a million acres have burned in California so far this year, the result of nearly 8,000 fires.