Oregon firefighters return after fighting Alaska wildfires

According to online reports, about 28 areas in Alaska have been on fire since early July, and the Oregon Department of Forestry has stepped in to help.

Posted: Jul 19, 2019 6:08 PM
Updated: Jul 24, 2019 10:46 AM

VENETA, Ore. --  Oregon's fire season is off to a slow start, but other states haven't been so lucky.

According to online reports, about 28 areas in Alaska have been on fire since early July, and the Oregon Department of Forestry has stepped in to help.

RELATED: WILDFIRE SEASON'S SLOW START DOESN'T MEAN FIRE DANGER IS GONE, EXPERTS SAY

ODF sent 28 crew members from all over Oregon to assist with the flames. Oregon is a part of the Northwest Compact, which allows quick and cost-effective resource sharing across the United States and Canada.

Marcus Kauffman, a representative from ODF, said sending crews to Alaska was a great opportunity to prepare them for Oregon's upcoming fire season.

"This really adds to the experience of our firefighters, when they can take their skills and put them into a different circumstance and still be effective," said Kauffman.

The goal was to safely put out the fires, even when they're very small. 

Jessica Dally, who has been with ODF for the last three seasons and just returned from Alaska, said it was one of the best experiences of her life.

"It wasn't something I was expecting as a third-season firefighter," said Dally. "But I definitely felt ready for it, and it definitely was a learning experience. I've taken so much from it."

Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana are the five states that are part of the Northwest Compact. In Canada, British Colombia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon and the Northwest Territories are the provinces and territories who take part in the agreement. 

THROWBACK: KLONDIKE FIRE THE LAST STANDING OF JULY 15 LIGHTNING-CAUSED WILDFIRE

The last time firefighters from Alaska were in Oregon, crew members were helping contain the Kondike and Taylor fires during the 2018 fire season. 

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