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Oct-23-2007 17:39printcomments

Oregon Guard on Standby to Assist California Firefighters

They will assist 1,500 California Guard soldiers already deployed.

Oregon Guard aviation crew during a recent training exercise
Oregon Guard aviation crew during a recent training exercise
Photo by: Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - Oregon National Guard aviation personnel are going on stand-by status to aid the 6,000 firefighters battling a Santa Ana wind-driven wildfire that has been burning out of control for three days.

Senate President Peter Courtney says he asked the Governor to make Oregon National Guard resources available to assist emergency management and recovery efforts in Southern California.

“With hundreds of thousands of people displaced and over a billion dollars in expected property damage, our neighbors to the South need us,” said Courtney.

“This is an emergency of enormous magnitude, and Oregon is ready to step up in any way we can if called upon.”

Oregon’s National Guard soldiers are commonly mobilized to assist in forest fire emergencies here in Oregon. And in 2005, nearly 2000 Oregon soldiers were deployed to Louisiana to assist civilian authorities with rescue and recovery operations after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

They will join 1,500 California National Guard soldiers who were mobilized to assist the effort today.

April Davis with the Oregon Guard says the Oregon Military Department has been in contact with officials in the California National Guard concerning available resources to assist with fire-fighting efforts.

The Oregon Army National Guard is currently ready to provide one UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter and one CH-47 Chinook helicopter, both equipped with water buckets, in the event that these resources are requested through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. Other Oregon Guard aviation assets can also be made available if requested.

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