Oregon fire crews move to Thomas Fire in Ventura County: 'Opportunity to return the favor'
VENTURA, Calif. - Firefighters from Oregon have transitioned to the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, working to protect homes from the massive blaze.
All but two of the strike teams from Oregon have left the Lilac Fire and moved to the Thomas Fire, Oregon fire officials said Sunday. By Monday, all 15 strike teams and Oregon Department of Forestry personnel had been assigned to the Thomas Fire.
"Oregon resources are doing great work and their morale is good," said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. "We continue to be proud of our firefighters professionalism and effective intergration with California resources during these difficult fires."
That includes 2 strike teams from Lane County.
"Our crews are doing well defending and protecting structures," the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal said on Facebook.
"California and Oregon have a longstanding relationship with mutual reciprocation when suppression resources are needed," said Oregon State Forester Peter Daugherty. "California was there for us during our challenging fire season this year and Oregon is fortunate to have the opportunity to return the favor."
Oregon firefighters are among the nearly 6,400 firefighters laying siege to the 230,500 acre fire.
The blaze has destroyed almost 800 structures and damaged almost 200 others.
CAL FIRE says 18,000 structures remain in harm's way.
The fires is 15 percent controlled as of Monday.
"Firefighters will remain engaged in structure defense operations and scout for opportunities to establish direct perimeter control," according to CAL FIRE. "Gusty northeast winds will cause the fire to threaten areas of the city of Santa Barbara. Fire will continue to threaten the communities of Carpenteria, Summerland, Montecito and surrounding areas. Evacuation operations will occur ahead of westward fire growth. Contingency groups will work to establish contingency line in Santa Barbara County in the areas of Windy Point, Camino Cielo and Foothills. Identification of potential control features in the north and east will continue."