The Oregon National Guard is helping fight the Rum Creek Fire that has burned approximately 17,000 acres and is said to be 12% contained. Fifty-one guard members have been helping with the safety and security of the area with road closure points since Monday, Aug. 29, in the Merlin area. Additionally, the guard has dispatched an HH-60 medical lift helicopter and crew to the Medford Airport to help if any firefighters or support staff become critically injured and need rapid transport for medical treatment.
The medical evacuation crew has been at the Medford Airport on call since Wednesday, Aug. 31. HH-60 Pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Corey Wadsworth said, 'We are here in Medford for MEDEVAC stand by for the wildland fires and are the dedicated MEDEVAC asset for any of the fire fighting crews in the area."
On the smoke-filled roads around the fire's perimeter, the road closure points are operated by teams of Soldiers and Airmen that ensure vehicle occupants have a legitimate reason to go into the fire complex area. Air National Guard, Staff Sgt. Joshua Rose on Road Closure Point 2 said, "we're just trying to keep everybody safe, keep the bad people out, and let the good people in, that kind of a thing. The overall experience out here has been great. A lot of the residents have been really appreciative of what we're doing out here."
The Oregon National Guard has a history of helping fight wildland fires, like their motto, "always ready, always there." the guard has several fire fighting crews trained to fight fires that are called on when civilian firefighting crews are stained. National Guard members are volunteers that typically serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year. The guard is the primary military organization that also serves the communities where they live.
Source: Oregon National Guard