Local firefighters return home from California wildfires

Around 20 crew members from seven different agencies in Lane County left 12 days ago to help with the LNU Lightning Complex Fires in Napa, California

Posted: Sep 2, 2020 11:02 PM
Updated: Sep 3, 2020 11:58 AM

GOSHEN, Ore. -- Lane County firefighters returned home Wednesday after nearly two weeks fighting California's massive wildfires.

Around 20 crew members from seven different agencies in Lane County left 12 days ago to help with the LNU Lightning Complex Fires in Napa, California. According to Cal Fire, the blaze burned over 375,000 acres and is 76% contained. As firefighters get near to 100% containment, less crews are needed.

Barry Nelson is the Lane County Task Force Leader in charge of the crew. He said his division had to cover a 40-mile long fire line. But they did more than fight the fire.

"We helped people with their animals," Nelson said. "We stopped and visited with those who lost their home. That was a hard one."

RELATED: LANE COUNTY CREWS EN ROUTE TO HELP WITH CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

At times the crew had the threat of heat, winds, and rugged terrain while fighting the fire.

"The fires down there move incredibly fast," Nelson said. "The gentleman I was talking to told me they saw the lightning hit and within 15 minutes they grabbed what they could and left. It was that fast."

Barry said wildfires moving that fast are not as common in Oregon, but they could still happen.

"I can tell you that defensible space works," Nelson said. "It's absolutely positively the best way to protect your residence from a wildfire."

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