California firefighters battling the McKinney Fire get an assist from Oregon crews

Author: Evan Watson (KGW)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Oregon firefighters have joined other crews working to contain the McKinney Fire in Northern California near the Oregon border. A total of 41 firefighters from Clackamas, Marion and Linn Counties arrived Sunday night.

The blaze erupted Friday and has since ripped through 55,000 acres, prompting California officials to order evacuations for thousands of people nearby. Officials said two people died inside of a vehicle in a driveway in the area on Sunday.

The Oregon crews have returned to camp after an initial shift and are resting before starting a 24-hour rotation Tuesday morning, according to John Hendricks, public affairs specialist for the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office.

“Fire does not recognize lines on a map and neither should the response, so California and Oregon, we have a great relationship with our counterparts down there,” Hendricks told KGW.

He said the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave contributed directly to the rapid spread of wildfires over the weekend.

“It’s amazing what a stretch of 90 to 100-plus degree days will [do] out in the forest, out in our wildland,” he said. “It really dries out those fine fuels, those bigger fuels start to dry out as well and that really increases the fire danger.”

The cause of the McKinney Fire is under investigation.

At the same time, Central Oregon fire crews are battling smaller fires of their own. Officials report firefighters have responded to a total of 15 wildfires started by lightning in the last 24 hours.

Firefighters are preparing for additional lightning Monday night, while at the same time working on containment lines for the smaller Oregon fires.

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