Q & A: Portland firefighter explains how they help battle Chetco Bar Fire

Lt. Tommy Schroeder is with Portland Fire and Rescue. He is also a public information officer for state conflagration fires. He says about 300 municipal fire department personnel, including about 50 from the metro area, are helping protect structures for

Lt. Tommy Schroeder is with Portland Fire and Rescue.  He is also a public information officer for state conflagration fires. He says about 300 municipal fire department personnel, including about 50 from the metro area, are helping protect structures for the Chetco Bar Fire. Here’s what he had to say about the fire:

How do local fire departments get involved in big wildland firefighting efforts?

“When the governor declares a conflagration or whenever a wildfire threatens structures or homes, resources from around the state from municipal fire departments congregate. We have a plan in place and we respond there to mitigate that threat to structures.”

What’s that mean for the Chetco Bar Fire?

“Right now, in addition to the wildland personnel who are doing great work down there, we have a total of almost 300 structural firefighters working down there to help protect and assess and prepare houses for the potential for the wildfire to creep up. Just from the Portland area alone we have 50 fire personnel helping with that.”

What’s that mean for the Brookings Fire Chief?

“What it does is it allows us to come in and manage the wildfire and that danger so that his department can go on day-to-day taking care of the citizens, the run of the mill house fire, the medical calls. Just the standard day-to-day.”

What’s this fire and others tell us about the fire season in Oregon?

“Certainly with the weather conditions we’ve had it’s been a busy summer. The eclipse stretched some resources thin just for preparation but it also helped us be more prepared because more people were monitoring and staffing emergency operations centers across the state.”

How are crews doing down at the Chetco Bar Fire?

“I think the mood is good, They’ve had some great weather down there when I was down there a few days ago. They were getting a lot of work done, and all we can do is keep our heads down and work really hard down there.”

© 2017 KGW-TV


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