Twenty-nine Minnesota firefighters representing seven Minnesota fire departments are headed to Oregon to help with the wildfire fight. It’s the first time Minnesota has sent firefighters and apparatus under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). They’ll assist fire teams from all over the country in containing the deadly and damaging wildfires.
Tuesday morning, firefighters trained on fire sheltering in case fast-moving flames get too close and they can’t evacuate in time. The crew gathered at a training session conducted before leaving from Fergus Falls for Salem, Oregon. From there they will be sent to locations that they will assist local authorities.
The last time Minnesota sent municipal fire departments and firefighters on an out-of-state assignment such as this was during the Yellowstone wildfires in 1988.
In this video posted on Facebook from the Country Inn in Fergus Falls, you’ll see some of our local departments including Brainerd, Motley and Crosslake are headed out west.
Brainerd Helicopter Service is already in Oregon and Colorado fighting wild fires by air. They have been fighting on the southern lines in Oregon since before the major outbreaks last week. Brainerd Helicopter is rotating teams of 6 pilots and 6 ground crew members between the two locations. The Oregon team is flying a Bell 407 and a Long Ranger while another Bell 407 is on site near Fort Collins, Colorado.
Photos Courtesy of Brainerd Helicopter Service.