Firefighters Fighting the Douglas Complex Blaze Start New Strategy

, Posted: Wed, July 31 2013 at 7:27 PM, Updated: Wed, July 31 2013 at 9:48 PM

Flames shoot from a tree stump.

Smoke fills the air.

"It’s hot and dry out here," says Dave Wells for the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Those conditions that are not helping the firefighters fighting the Douglas complex blaze.

Wells says "it’s pretty explosive fire behavior, and the risk of potential growth is high."

Firefighters have started a new strategy called back burning.

"A lot of science has gone into this standup," says Wells.

Level 1 firefighters, also known as the hotshots have been brought in and they are using the fire to fight the fire. 

These specially trained firefighters light the forest on fire against a prepared trail that will hopefully be used as a final boundary for the fire.

Wells says “in a sense those trees are burning to save a bunch of other trees.”  

And for the thousands of firefighters fighting this fire, they will fight day and night until it’s contained.

“They were pretty happy to have breakfast, pretty to go to sleep that was their second thing, and they were pretty happy to fighting the wildfire. They enjoy the challenge that they have taken on to fighting wildfires,” says Wells.

And with challenge, comes reward.

Wells says "the signs that people see, that say thank you firefighters, you can’t buy that kind of thank yous."

The Douglas Complex fire is still just 5 percent contained.

The cost of the fire is now at more than 3.8 million dollars.

Governor Kitzhaber has declared a state of emergency in both Douglas and Josephine county.

We are told he will be touring the fire this coming weekend.

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