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Clatsop County joins other firefighting teams headed to California fires

Local firefighters lend a hand to those fighting fires in California
By Brenna Visser

The Daily Astorian

Published on December 7, 2017 8:07AM

Last changed on December 7, 2017 10:08AM

A dozen firefighters from Clatsop County have been sent to Ventura County, Calif., to fight growing wildfires. From left to right: Amy Lenz, Brandin Smith, Flint Helligso, Justin Perdew, Tanner Rich, Chris Dugan, Ron Tyson, Dallas Ritchie, Genesee Dennis. Front row: Matt Benedict, Angels Perez and Katie Bulletset.

Gearhart Volunteer Fire Department

A dozen firefighters from Clatsop County have been sent to Ventura County, Calif., to fight growing wildfires. From left to right: Amy Lenz, Brandin Smith, Flint Helligso, Justin Perdew, Tanner Rich, Chris Dugan, Ron Tyson, Dallas Ritchie, Genesee Dennis. Front row: Matt Benedict, Angels Perez and Katie Bulletset.


Clatsop County firefighters were among the many from Oregon deployed to help Southern California battle multiple blazes Wednesday morning.

A dozen firefighters from six departments around the county will be teamed up with another task force from Marion County and spend at least 16 days fighting fires in Ventura County near Los Angeles, said Lewis & Clark Fire Chief Jeff Golightly. Firefighters include Ron Tyson of Olney Walluski Fire & Rescue District; Amy Lenz, Dallas Ritchie and Justin Perdew of Knappa Fire District; Brandin Smith and Flint Helligso of Lewis & Clark Fire Department; Tanner Rich and Angels Perez of Gearhart Volunteer Fire Department; Chris Dugan, Genesee Dennis and Katie Bulletset of Seaside Fire Department and Cannon Beach Fire Chief Matt Benedict.

This will be the third time local firefighters will have deployed this year to aid with fires outside of the county.

As of Wednesday, multiple fires have prompted officials to issue evacuation orders for nearly 200,000 people in Southern California and have destroyed nearly 200 homes, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. According to the office of the Oregon State Fire Marshal, 150 Oregon firefighters are in California.

Gearhart Fire Chief Bill Eddy said two of his firefighters are on the task force, and said he was happy Clatsop County could help.

“During our summer, the state of California sent resources to Oregon to assist us in our fight, we are proud to be able to return the favor and hope we can make a difference,” Eddy said.

At the Gearhart City Council meeting Wednesday, Mayor Matt Brown asked firefighters to be safe and praised their readiness to serve in the midst of the holiday season.

“They’re so ready to go and serve, even though some of them are going to be there possibly until Christmas,” Brown said. “They didn’t even hesitate to say, ‘Hey,

we’re going down to help out.’”



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