FEMA searching for Almeda Fire remains

JACKSON CO., Ore. – Jackson Co. said the remains of three people have been recovered in the Almeda Fire wreckage. Multiple agencies, from our area and beyond, are continuing to look for more.

Investigators say the search and rescue process is tedious. With a disaster like the Almeda fire experts like FEMA’s Utah Task Force 1 are brought in, to assess the situation.

“This is a very well practiced team with capability that’s being brought into the State of Oregon during this unfortunate time,” said Bryan Case.

Utah Task Force 1 is one of 28 FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces in the country. Their team was brought in to assist local investigators and search for remains.

“For jobs like this, where we’re looking for burned out structures, we’ll send in K-9s that are human remains detection trained dogs. And so they are trained to pick up on unfortunately deceased victims,” said Case.

He says K-9s are their best tool when searching for human remains even in the worst conditions.

“When they train with these dogs they use even just small pieces of human material to train these K-9s. And so it really doesn’t take much what would be left of a human body in order for these dogs to pick up on that scent,” said Case.

K-9’s aren’t their only tools. They also have high-tech physical and digital maps that help them search.

“To the untrained eye this area would just be a wasteland, but if you have the right tools you’ll be able to pinpoint that this home was on this street at this particular address,” said Case.

Utah Task Force 1 are here in Phoenix-Talent assisting with the search. Jackson Co. has another team that helps identify any discover remains.

NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university's political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster's Foundation. Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]
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