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Clatsop County firefighters battle blazes in central Oregon

Sent out Friday morning
By Brenna Visser

The Daily Astorian

Published on August 18, 2017 5:49PM

Last changed on August 20, 2017 5:14PM


Multiple firefighters all over Clatsop County have been called to help respond to the Milli Fire in Sisters.

Knappa Fire Chief Paul Olheiser, who is coordinating the effort, said 13 firefighters from Seaside, Olney, Lewis and Clark, Warrenton and Knappa fire districts were sent out Friday morning with brush trucks to help central Oregon personnel combat the growing fire.

Gov. Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act Thursday morning in response to the Milli Fire, located west of Sisters in Deschutes County. It is a statewide request for resources when the governor deems local resources are not enough. The fire affects approximately 1,200 residents and threatens 434 structures.

Due to the fire burning partially in the fire scar of the 2006 Black Crater Fire, crews on the ground are using extreme caution in areas with dead and standing timber. Local officials issued a Level 2 evacuation notice for areas south of Oregon Route 242 (McKenzie Highway) and west of the Pole Creek Ditch.

Olheiser said the number of people sent and from which department is based on availability of personnel and resources.

“When the state gives resource order, you go down the list of what the state is asking for and see who has it,” he said.

Right now there is no estimated return date for these firefighters, but Olheiser said they usually go out for three to five days.

“The departments that couldn’t spare the personnel didn’t send any. The chief makes the decision on how many people can he can spare and still provide the same amount of care to the community,” he said. “We have 13 less, but we are not in a position where we do not have enough people to operate safely.”



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