County firefighting specialist sent to assist with Oregon fire

By Jenn Watt

A firefighter from Haliburton County has joined a team of 19 specialists sent from Ontario to assist with fighting fires in Oregon.

More than 24 people have died in the United States due to wildfires in Washington, Oregon and California with millions of acres affected and air quality badly compromised for much of the west coast.
“Ontario is an internationally recognized leader in wildland fire management with staff who are highly trained and skilled in fighting wildfires,” a statement from Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry John Yakabuski reads. “We have been working together with other provinces and territories to field a Canadian team to support the firefighting efforts in Oregon.”

On Thursday, Sept. 17, Ontario deployed 19 personnel to Oregon’s Holiday Farm fire, which includes the community of Blue River.
The MNRF would not provide the Minden Times with the name of the firefighter, but confirmed that the fire management personnel from Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services included one person from Haliburton County. MNRF has a fire base at the Stanhope Airport.

Ontario has provided eight task force leaders, seven division supervisors, one heavy equipment group supervisor, one heli-base manager, one agency representative, and one national COVID-19 coordinator.
“We want to thank our dedicated personnel for stepping up in this critical time of need and showing the true Ontario spirit. We wish them success in their mission and look forward to their safe return,” Ford and Yakabuski said in their joint statement.