Portland, Gresham firefighters to help fight California wildfires

GRESHAM, Ore. – A strike team from Multnomah County left for California Tuesday morning, to help as crews continue to battle devastating wildfires.

The five Type 1 engines for the strike team will consist of one Gresham Fire engine, one Port of Portland (Airport) Fire engine, three Portland Fire engines and a Chief Officer.

Gresham Fire Battalion Chief Jason McGowan said the team doesn’t know what their mission is, just yet, but will be ready to do whatever is asked. He thinks Gresham firefighters might assist in protecting homes and businesses.

“It is devastating, I think that’s the best word to use to describe it,” said Chief McGowan. “It feels good to be able to help. It’s a huge response. I’ve been here 25 years and we've never gone any further than Leavenworth, Washington. We went about 20 years ago. Other than that we've never gone this far. So that says a lot about the devastation we are seeing, especially in 3 to 4 days.”

RELATED: Fierce winds to increase wildfire danger in northern California

Multnomah County is one of 10 strike teams activated by the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office, in coordination with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

The teams consists of two from Lane County, Washington County, Multnomah County, Linn/Benton counties, Marion County, Clatsop County, Jackson/Josephine counties, Yamhill County and Klamath/Deschutes counties.

"Oregon fire agencies have stepped up to the plate to help our neighbors to the south," said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. "California helped us with the fires in southern Oregon this year and I am proud that we can return the favor in their time of need."

© 2017 KGW-TV


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