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Hubbard crews return from fighting Douglas fires

by: HUBBARD FIRE DISTRICT - Jared Lynch, a volunteer firefighter with the Hubbard Fire District, watches over the fire line near Wolf Creek. There was little doubt that Hubbard Fire District volunteers would get the call and sure enough it came July 28.

Gov. John Kitzhaber had sounded the state’s Conflagration Act, which dispatches firefighting resources from throughout the state whenever and wherever they are needed.

Early the next morning, four volunteer members of the district’s 20-member crew had packed their bags and were headed south to fight the 38,000-acre Douglas Complex fire, which was burning just north of Glendale.

They brought their big yellow engine to provide structural protection for a number of homes and other structures in the area, which is located not too far from Interstate 5, said Chief Bill Hansen, who led the group.

“When we first arrived we were told to rest up for night shift,” Hansen said.

“We soon found out that it was difficult to sleep when the 90-plus degree sun was beating down on your tent,”?Hansen continued. “But we made it happen and worked through the night.”

The fire was considered the number one priority in the nation as far as threats to structures and the city of Glendale, which is just seven miles away, Hansen said.

“This year is one of the worst years that many of the state agencies have seen,” he said. “It was hot. It was uncomfortable, but we never felt unsafe at any time. We never put ourselves in a position of danger.”

No homes were lost, but things got pretty hot for the crews, which came back home Aug. 2, Hansen said.

“There were multiple structures where the fire burned right up to our line and we held the line,” he said. “No homes were lost.”

Next up on the on-call list is the Woodburn Fire District and Mount Angel Fire District, said Woodburn Chief Paul Iverson.

Two years ago, Woodburn crews were dispatched to Warm Springs. They will be ready to go again, Iverson said.

“Basically, you have an hour to stage your crew, assemble your apparatus and head to the incident,” he said. “We’ll be ready to go.”