Missoula center sends crews to battle Oregon fire


MISSOULA, Mont. - Firefighters in Oregon and Washington continue to battle hot, windy weather and wildfires on the run.

Washington declared a state of emergency for 20 eastern Washington counties. It comes after multiple wildfires, hot temperatures and high winds. Now, the state can seek help from the National Guard and State Guard.

In Oregon, NBC Montana has been keeping tabs on the Buzzard Complex, but that's not the only fire impacting Oregon.

We checked online and saw that it totaled more than a dozen active wildfires. Oregon crews are stretched thin. That's why Montana teams are being called in to help from the Northern Rockies Coordination Center. They sent in 30 to 40 Montanans, two of whom are from Missoula, to Oregon.

It's crucial to note, that they don't normally send crews to Oregon, but they send them all across Montana, parts of North Dakota and the panhandle of Idaho.

Clare Delaney, the Public Information Officer with the Northern Rockies Coordination Center, showed NBC Montana some of the places where crews are headed.

"If the local unit of the Prineville are asking that they need a Type 2 team, then it is a serious situation," said Delaney.

She's talking about the Pine Creek fire, which is 11 miles south of Fossil. Officials told NBC Montana that fire jumped its lines and Oregon had no one left to stop it.

"They were getting low on resources. They have used up all of their people there, so they came to us," said Delaney.

Team members got a resource order, saying when they should report to the Pine Creek fire. They have trained in Missoula at the Northern Rockies Training Center during the fall to the spring in preps for the fire season.

Delaney says not to worry. We still have plenty of crews including the highly trained Type 2 and Type 1 teams, the best of the best.

"We have five type 2 teams left here and two type 1 teams, so our support for our folks in our local area is intact," said Delaney.

The team will all arrive in Oregon by the end of Wednesday and they will stay there for two weeks.

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