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News Release
220923-Z-ZJ128-1004
220923-Z-ZJ128-1004
Oregon National Guard Helping Fight Double Creek Fire (Photo) - 09/24/22

JOSEPH, Ore. - Oregon National Guard members are helping with the Double Creek Fire by providing staffing to road closure points around the fire's perimeter. The Double Creek Fire in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in Northeast, Oregon, at at more than 157,000 acres it is considered a Megafire by the U.S. Forest Service. Currently, the Oregon Forestry Department says they have the fire 81% contained that started by a lightning strike.

The Oregon National Guard has been at the fire since September 10, and recently switched out some personnel with fresh service members to provide safety and security. The approximately 30 guard members staffing road closure points serve to protect area residents and wildland firefighters. 

Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Decker, who's volunteered since the Rum Creek Fire in Josephine County, said, "The National Guard is the last resource called in to come in and help – so we come in, we help with these TAPs (Traffic Assistance Points), where we're out there trying to keep everybody safe."

Wallowa County is a very rural area that draws many to its natural beauty and outdoor activities. 

“It’s that time of the season, and you know they want to do their hunt, and they got their tags, and they want to fill them,” said Decker. "We understand that, but it's not safe for them, and it's not safe for the fire crews either."

Oregon National Guard Maj. Joshua Reese, the officer in charge of the National Guard group, is an IT specialist that works at the Salem Hospital for his civilian job, said, "As a Citizen-Soldier, it's an honor to serve my fellow Oregonians and help keep people safe,” commenting on his fellow members supporting fire operations. "I'm really proud of our group, some of these soldiers and airmen have been on State Active Duty [orders] for over 28 days, working these closure points."

The Oregon National Guard has a history of helping fight wildland fires, like their motto, "Always Ready, Always There." The guard has several firefighting crews trained to fight fires that are ready if called on to support strained civilian firefighting crews. In addition, Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen are volunteers that typically serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year. The National Guard is the primary military organization that also serves the communities where they live.

                                                                               -30-

B-roll link: https://www.dvidshub.net/video/858563/oregon-national-guard-helping-fight-double-creek-fire

Photo Captions

220923-Z-ZJ128-1001
Cpt. Cody Comerford and Maj. Joshua Reese give an in-brief to fresh Double Creek Fire volunteers of the Oregon National Guard at the La Grande National Guard Armory Sept. 23, 2022. The volunteers will staff road closure points around the perimeter of the Double Creek Megafire in the Wallowa Whitman National Forest area.

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. W. Chris Clyne, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs)

220923-Z-ZJ128-1002
Double Creek Fire volunteers Sgt. Justin Seibel, Sgt. Kenneth Steward, and Spc. Pamela Fredrick fill out State Active Duty forms at the La Grande National Guard Armory Sept. 23, 2022. The volunteers will staff road closure points around the perimeter of the Double Creek Megafire in the Wallowa Whitman National Forest area.

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. W. Chris Clyne, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs)

220923-Z-ZJ128-1003
Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge (NCOIC) Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Decker gives a situation brief to new Double Creek Fire volunteers at the main fire camp in Joseph, Ore., Sept. 23, 2022. The volunteers will staff road closure points around the perimeter of the Double Creek Megafire in the Wallowa Whitman National Forest area.

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. W. Chris Clyne, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs)

220923-Z-ZJ128-1004
Double Creek Fire volunteer Spc. Zack Baker talks with area residents at a road closure point in Imnaha, Ore., Sept. 23, 2022. Baker, along with fellow guard members, are staffing road closure points around the perimeter of the Double Creek Megafire in the Wallowa Whitman National Forest area.

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. W. Chris Clyne, Oregon National Guard Public Affairs)
 

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