Local law enforcement says the work is far from over after the Almeda Fire tore through Jackson County, but the progress made so far wouldn’t have been possible without the public’s help.
“Unfortunately a perfect storm of terrible scenarios” said Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler.
The Almeda Fire was unlike anything Sheriff Sickler had ever seen.
“Its so fast that it’s almost like it’s happening at a rate that’s is very hard to comprehend before you actually see it,” he said.
It was all hands on deck says Sheriff Sickler, with resources as far away as Bend and Klamath County answering the call for help on both the Almeda and South Obenchain fires.
“I never expected it to even reach Talent, we had never seen anything like this before,” said Medford Police Chief Scott Clauson.
Chief Clauson says his officers were on scene as soon as the fire started to help with traffic in Ashland, but it soon became clear the whole valley was threatened.
“Phoenix doesn’t have a lot of personnel, Talent was down a few officers, so I knew what we could offer was personnel resources,” said Clauson.
Sheriff Sickler says those resources extended beyond law enforcement and fire fighters.
“All hands on deck, fire, and roads departments, county roads was there, parole and probation, animal control, everybody was out doing the best they could,” said Sheriff Sickler.
That partnership between county and city services, law enforcement and the community proved vital.
“In the day of the evacuations, it wasn’t just law enforcement, it was community members helping out, lending their vehicles, assistance, family calling family, friends calling friends,” said Sheriff Sickler.
With time to reflect on that tragic day, both offered thanks to those who offered their help. Without a doubt, saving countless lives.
“People dropping off food and supplies and drinks and water, that proved immensely helpful,” said Chief Clauson.
“We are just really thankful for all the support, and we can’t reiterate it enough to our public that it means a lot to our law enforcement community and firefighters and everyone else involved,” said Sickler.
Sheriff Sickler says the outpouring of generosity and The deliveries of food and drinks were a huge boost to morale for his staff, many of them worked 7 days a week around the time of the fires and in the weeks afterwards.
Matt Jordan is the Chief Meteorologist for KOBI-TV NBC5.
Matt joined the NBC5 weather team in 2014 after a year as a reporter and anchor in Alexandria, Louisiana. His experience with the severe weather of the Deep South and a love of the Pacific Northwest led him to pursue a certification with Mississippi State University as a Broadcast Meteorologist. You can find Matt working in the evenings of NBC5 News at 5, 6 and 11 as well as online.
Matt also has a degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. In addition to being passionate about news and weather, Matt is a HUGE Oregon Ducks fan. When not rooting for the Ducks or tracking down the next storm over the Pacific, Matt can be found outdoors in the Oregon wilderness with his wife and their German Shepherd named Stanley.