Substation Fire 70,000 Acres, 15% Contained

posted by Brad Ford - 

The Substation Fire near The Dalles has burned 70,000 acres and is now 15% contained.

The fire has burned around 70,000 acres and is the nation's number one firefighting priority. 278 firefighters across the Pacific Northwest are battling it.

All areas east of Highway 97 and the towns of Moro, Grass Valley, Biggs Junction and Kent have been reduced to a Level 2 (Get Set) evacuation.

Fire crews are working on containment lines to keep the fire from spreading.  The fire has destroyed structures, crops and forestland, and one person was killed by the fire.

64-year-old John Ruby was a resident of The Dalles. He was operating a tractor to create a fire line when he was overcome by the fire.

Investigators believe the fire is arson and they're asking anyone with information about how the fire started to call Oregon State Police.

Crews are assessing how many structures have burned.  

The Oregon National Guard has been activated to assist the Oregon Department of Forestry with wildfire suppression efforts following Governor Kate Brown’s statewide wildfire emergency declaration on July 18, 2018.

At the request of ODF, aviation assets will be made available to wildfire crews in Oregon. The Oregon Army National Guard is providing two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and two HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters equipped with Bambi water buckets. Other air assets include an additional HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter to be on standby for medical evacuations and a UH-72 Lakota helicopter to assist with aerial spotting.

Other ONG assets and personnel could be activated if needed, including teams of service members to provide traffic assistance points and firefighting ground crews. Oregon National Guard ground troops have not yet been requested but are available if wildfire conditions worsen. 

Two teams (each with approximately 125 Soldiers and Airmen) have already been trained and are “Red Card” certified in preparation for wildfire season with an additional 125-person team scheduled to be certified by August 10. The teams are comprised of Citizen-Airmen and Citizen-Soldiers from Oregon Air and Army National Guard units across the state.

The ONG has an ongoing agreement with ODF known as Operation Plan Smokey, which stipulates the details of how ONG members and assets may be utilized to assist in annual firefighting efforts. This agreement is reviewed annually by leadership of both agencies.

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