By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
At a news conference Wednesday, Governor Kate Brown called the fire damage across Oregon “unprecedented.”
“We expect to see a great deal of loss, both in structures and in human lives,” Gov. Brown said. “This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history.”
Brown said she is requesting federal assistance to help battle the wildfires. The requests will support search and rescue efforts and shelter and food support for evacuees.
Some of those requests have already been approved. On Tuesday, FEMA Region 10 Administrator Mike O’Hare approved federal funds to fight the Holiday Farm Fire, the Powerline fire and the Echo Mountain Complex Fire.
Brown is also hoping to get help from other states.
“We are seeing massive fires in not only Oregon, but California and Washington, so resources are spread thin,” Brown said. “We’re hoping to have crews from other states including Utah to come to Oregon to assist us.”
In the past few days, several new management teams have been moved up from California to help manage the fires.
Doug Grafe, chief of fire protection for the Oregon Department of Forestry, said the state has about 3,000 firefighters working on the ground as of Wednesday, but he expects to see more here soon.
“It’ll be slower than any one of us will like relative to bringing in new resources, because we are running out of crews, running out of all assets,” Grafe said.
General Michael Stencel with the National Guard said the Oregon Department of Forestry formally requested three 125-firefighter teams. Stencel said the teams are in the process of deploying as of Wednesday.
“The national system we have is absolutely strained,” Grafe said. “We have to work with what we have.”