Contract crews offer extra firefighter help

Central Point, Ore. – Crews take small fires seriously because they never know when a small fire could turn into something bigger.

If that happens, agreements with other agencies ensure there are enough people to keep you safe.

The Oregon Department of Forestry has a pre-season agreement with local contract crews so when we get a storm like the one on Sunday, they can call in help as needed.

According to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Melissa Cano, they brought on 50 additional firefighters the past two days to help with scattered fires across the area.

She says the cycle between contract workers and the 100 full-time firefighters is important to give both parties the rest they need.

“We’re doing that initial attack and it’s very tiresome and number one is firefighter safety and if we don’t get our crews off that front line in a good amount of time to actually get some rest… some of that rest can eventually turn into a potential accident,” Cano said.

Cano believes they ask for help from contract crews five to 10 times on average per summer for several days at a time.

While the contract crews aren’t working right now, Cano says they could be called up very soon as lightning strikes can cause fires up to three weeks later.

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