Soldiers Battle S. Oregon 40,000-Acre Inferno

Before It’s News – by Deborah Dupree

Soldiers have arrived in southern Oregon to help battle lightening-sparked infernos, the nation’s highest priority fires that killed one fireworker and prompted state of emergencies, mandatory evacuations and suffocating smoke, not the type the state’s greenies prefer.

A state of emergency and mandatory evacuations have been declared in southern Oregon where for six days, fires remained at zero containment until yesterday’s cooler and moister conditions.  

Gov. John Kitzhaber declared a state of emergency Tuesday for Josephine and Douglas counties.

One hundred and twenty-five soldiers are among over 4,000 firefighters battling southern Oregon fires.

The fires are now burning approximately 40,000 acres.

Mandatory evacuations are in place in the Glendale area. Other communities have been alerted to be packed and prepared to evacuate.

Some residents have left voluntarily due to heavy smoke. The southern Oregon smoke is so heavy and widepread, it has impacted air quality and health as far as Sacramento and San Francisco where health adviseries have also been issued.

Lightening sparked the largest fires last weekend in southwestern Oregon forests.

“Fire officials expect growth on all flanks on all fires due to extreme weather conditions and terrain,” officials replied to Dupre in a Tweet on .

Thursday, another early-morning barrage of lightning east of the Cascade Range started dozens of smaller wildfires.

One firefighter died and another was injured by a falling snag in the Deschutes National Forest near Sisters, Oregon on Thursday.

The incident occurred on one of the new lightning-caused fire, named 398, north of Highway 242 near Dugout Lake.

The two firefighters were contract personnel working as a tree falling team employed by R&K Water Services out of Bonney Lake, Washington. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Department is in charge of the accident.

Passing some houses in the thick smoke, one can see brightly decorated signs that read, “Thank You, Firemen!”

Nationally, fighting fires cost has increased from $1.1 billion in 1994 to $2.7 billion in 2011, reports Rolling Stones in its article, calling the western fires the new normal due to climate change and Tea Party politics.

In southern Oregon, there is no estimated fire containment date.

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