A Cariboo Fire Centre crew is headed to assist with firefighting efforts in Oregon.
Forrest Tower, communication and engagement specialist with the BC Wildfire Service, confirmed Thursday the local crew going consists of 20 firefighters, one division supervisor, one task force leader and one agency representative.
They will be part of the 230 firefighters being deployed to the U.S. from B.C. and Alberta this Friday.
A 20-person sustained-action unit crew typically works on large fires and can remain self-sufficient in the field for up to 72 hours at a time, Tower noted, adding crew members receive extensive training and are knowledgeable about wildfire behaviour, fire management tactics and fire-line equipment use.
Jim Gersbach, public affairs specialist with the Oregon Department of Forestry, provided an update from Sept. 17, 2020 that shows there are 12 major fires in Oregon presently.
There are about 6,500 personnel assigned to the fires from across the U.S. and Canada, which does not include many government emergency response employees, landowners, forestland operators and community members.
About one million acres have burned in Oregon since the start of the year.
Talking to the Tribune from his home in Portland, Gersbach said the sky is the smokiest he has seen and he has lived his entire life in Oregon.
“I can’t actually see the sun,” he said. “It kind of looks like a winter day.”
The wildfires surprised many Oregonians this year who were either on evacuation alerts or orders for the first time ever, he added as he thanked B.C. for sending firefighters to assist.