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Heat Exhaustion Plagues Firefighters

medical tentCENTRAL POINT, Ore. – As if the fires weren’t enough to keep crews on their toes, fire officials say the heat and dry conditions are putting unusual strain on them this year.

In Jackson County alone there have been five reported cases of firefighters having to be taken to the hospital because of heat exhaustion.

Fire officials say they normally see that happen once or twice every couple of years.

Medical personnel attribute the change to the heat and the early start to the season.

“This has been an atypical year,” said Beaver Complex Medical Unit Leader Andrew Wheeler. “Generally, Oregon fire season starts at the end of July, and this year it started the first of July, so crews are being rotated from fire to fire.”

Right now there are 22 medical personnel on the Beaver Complex—two at a time in each of the two medical tents and the remaining majority in the field. They also have an ambulance at each fire for immediate evacuations.

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