ODF sends Strike Team to Assist in Texas Wildfires

SALEM, Ore. – Today the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) deployed a strike team to Amarillo, Texas to assist in their wildfire suppression efforts. The strike team is equipped with five engines and a strike team leader, with a total of 16 firefighters traveling down to the state.  

The firefighters are going to Texas under mutual assistance agreements, making it easier to share resources. When wildfire activity is low in Oregon, firefighters can be spared to help in other places experiencing high levels of wildfire response. 

“We’re ready and willing to help whenever we receive the call from one of our partner states,” said Chris Cline, ODF’s Interim Fire Protection Division Chief.  “It’s the right thing to respond when someone is in a time of need, and we are honored to have the opportunity to serve.”

So how does Oregon send resources to help other states? This is all done through mutual assistance agreements creating a cache of reciprocal resources and a larger more comprehensive fire management system. In this system, Oregon does not only send out resources, but also receives and has received helpful resources when local capacity becomes overwhelmed.

 “The relationships built through our assistance in other states not only benefits them, but also Oregonians as we reach out for help when our fire season hits its peak.” Cline explained. In the 2023 fire season, Oregon received 173 out-of-state firefighters. 

Sending our firefighters on these out-of-state deployments helps them build relationships outside of our organization, learn new suppression tactics and gives them the opportunity to fight fire in a different landscape. These off-season deployments keep their skills sharp so they can come back to Oregon with new knowledge that can be applied to our future fire seasons.