ODF preps for fires in extreme heat

Grants Pass, Ore. —  The sweltering heat isn’t stopping firefighters. Even one week after the Redwood Highway Fire, crews are still actively checking the scene, making sure nothing sparks up.

As if fighting fires and protecting wildland wasn’t hard enough, doing it in extreme heat is a daunting task.

But that isn’t stopping ODF from fighting these fires.

“You are dealing with the unexpected,” Nathaniel Johnson said, ODF fire suppression specialist.

Right now the unexpected means extreme fire danger and record breaking heat. Firefighters protecting the wildland have to work full shifts, despite the temperature.

In fact, ODF scheduled their work shifts to make sure they have the most coverage during the hottest parts of the day.

Crews said it’s part of the job, and they’re ready when any call comes in.

“Our immediate response is to get on our engine, if we’re not already on it,” Paris Drake said, ODF forest officer.

ODF firefighters are expected to gear up within 30 seconds and get on the road after a call from dispatch, no matter what that call may be.

Johnson is still a rookie firefighter, but he knows the drill.

“When we are about to show up on a fire, we’ll show up in our yellows. Basically our pants. Also if you ever see us in that bright yellow shirt, those are both our preventative measures towards the fire,” Johnson said.

It’s hot, dangerous work, but the firefighters say it’s all worth it in the end.

“I think people can be confident that we are out for their good and if a fire does start, we will attack it,”

One week after the Redwood Highway Fire, ODF is still monitoring the area. But other than that, they are ready to go should anything come up.

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