Make the McKenzie Connection!

Getting P.R.E.P.'ed

Session focused on local protection

FINN ROCK: Personnel from firefighting agencies outnumbered the public for last week’s P.R.E.P. meeting. People who weren’t there missed gaining insights into how plans to protect them are evolving to meet new challenges associated with long-lasting wildfires.

During the Plan, Resilient, Educate, Prepare (P.R.E.P.) session Darren Bucich, McKenzie Fire and Rescue Chief, gave outlined how the area’s fire districts interact to conduct evacuations. He also explained that although “we volunteer our equipment and staff to go to other fires to help them out,” their primary mission is to protect the local area.

Brent Griffiths, mobilization coordinator with the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office said the Lane County Sheriff’s Office response to the Holiday Farm Fire had been amazing, considering there was only one fatality in a situation that was feared had resulted in many more. “It was really a testament to the work they did,” he added.

Griffiths also gave a few insights into what considerations come into play before a decision is made to allow people to return to their property. “It can take quite a bit of time,” he said, because when “the fire is no longer a danger, what it did is.”

Some of those threats, he said include trees that could fall or hot ash pits that might still be hot around a property. Letting people back in is “ultimately the sheriff’s decision,” Griffiths said, “but he’s not a fireman.”

Other speakers included Darren Cross, McKenzie River Ranger District Ranger, who gave a big-picture overview from a district and agency administrator’s perspective during long-duration wildfires.

Adam Veale, Deputy Fire Staff of Operations for Northwest Oregon Interagency Fire Management and Deputy Incident Commander talked about the transition from initial attack to extended attack. He also outlined the Incident Management Team’s role during long-duration fires, as well as working together with multiple agencies.

To view videos about coming back to a fire-burned property or how private logging equipment can become “first responders,” go to: tinyurl.com

 

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