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Oregon National Guard supplies 250 quickly trained firefighters

COURTESY OREGON NATIONAL GUARD - Oregon National Guard trained 250 soldiers as wildfire fighters this week.

250 additional members of the Oregon National Guard completed their week of wildland firefighter training at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem Saturday evening.The training activities were conducted in the foothills of the Academy's 235 acre campus.

This deployment was ordered by Governor Kate Brown under Op Plan Smokey to support the efforts of the Oregon Department of Forestry. Op Plan Smokey is an agreement that has been in place for many years that allows the Oregon National Guard to support wildland firefighting efforts when all other public and private resources are depleted. When Op Plan Smokey is activated the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training provides wildfire training for the Oregon National Guard in partnership with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

The week of basic fire training includes two courses needed for qualification as a wildland firefighter by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, S-130 Firefighter Training and S-190 Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior. The training cadre includes seasoned fire instructors from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, Oregon Department of Forestry and Oregon Military Department. Director Eriks Gabliks said "The training was delivered in four ten-hour days to expedite the availability of these Airmen and Soldiers to the fire lines."

This wildland fire training course is required of all public and private firefighters in the United States before they can work on the fire lines. The training includes a variety of topics including fire behavior, incident command, watch outs, fire orders, fire shelters, hazards, terminology, use of water, mop up/securing line, communications, suppression, and others. Today's ten-hour, hands-on, field day conclusion included pumps, hose lays, hand line construction, mop-up (wet), mop-up (dry), and engines.

The Airmen and Soldiers are from the 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland, the 173rd Fighter Wing in Klamath Falls, and the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team based at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas.

DPSST's Director Eriks Gabliks said "this is a talented and dedicated group of men and women who have served our country both here and abroad and are now ready to join the fire lines to protect Oregon's communities and natural resources. These Airmen and Soldiers are well prepared for the work ahead and are ready to go."

The 250 completing training will join the 125 members of the Oregon National Guard who completed their training at the Academy on Tuesday night and are working the fire lines near John Day. This second group (two 125 members teams) will be ready for deployment on Sunday morning. What fire(s) they will be sent to will be announced by the Oregon Military Department or the Oregon Department of Forestry.