Local fire crews heading to California to battle massive Ventura County wildfire
Firefighters from Portland, Gresham and other parts of the state are heading to Southern California Wednesday to help fight a massive wildfire threatening thousands of homes north of Los Angeles.
California's 65,000-acre Thomas Fire was reported at about 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, in Ventura County and the Los Padres National Forest. It threatens more than 12,000 homes and buildings, forcing evacuations from the cities of Santa Paula, Ventura, Ojai and Fillmore.
Dozens of schools in the region have been closed because of the fire. Traffic on some area roads and highways were blocked or slowed because of the blaze.
By Wednesday morning, 1,776 Los Angeles-area firefighters were battling the fast-moving blaze with 362 engines and crews.
Oregon's Office of State Fire Marshal, through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, activated Dec. 6 its agency operations center and 10 strike teams with equipment and crews who leave this week to aid California firefighters. California fire officials asked for the help Tuesday, Dec. 5.
"Oregon fire agencies have again answered the call and we are honored to assist our neighbors for the second time this year, said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. "California helped us with the fires in Southern Oregon this year, we assisted them in October and I am proud that we can again assist them in their time of need."
Oregon county fire defense board chiefs have activated 10 strike teams from Lane, Multnomah, Washington, Linn, Marion, Clackamas, Klamath, Yamhill, a combined team from Polk, Linn, and Benton counties, and a team from the Rogue Valley area. Five additional strike teams are being ordered and will be enroute Wednesday.
Portland Fire & Rescue is sending three engines, crews and a chief officer. Gresham Fire Department is sending two engines and crews.