U.S. Army soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (in Washington State) are helping fight fires in southern Oregon. 200 soldiers have been deployed to the Umpqua North Complex of Fires, which has burned nearly 40-thousand acres east of Roseburg.
When federal firefighting resources are tapped, military troops can be deployed to help. Captain Tony Sagastizado says the soldiers of US Army Task Force Spearhead completed their training on Saturday and went to work on the fire lines Sunday.
Sagastizado: “If you’re a soldier in the United States military, there’s certainly an allure of suddenly becoming a firefighter. That’s one thing that as a kid you just want to be is like either a soldier, a firefighter, or a police officer and they are all definitely excited. They are definitely motivated to conduct these type of operations and working with some of the best firefighters in the nation.”
Sagastizado says the soldiers will be moving on soon to help fight another fire. Fire officials are expecting hot weather to make conditions more challenging for crews this week.
There is an informational open house about local wildfires from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11th in Roseburg. It’s at the Umpqua National Forest office, 2900 NW Stewart Parkway.