In support of the unprecedented wildfires burning in Oregon, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) continues to deploy emergency management personnel to the Pacific Northwest to assist in the response and recovery efforts.
Three staff from Cal OES, who also deployed to Puerto Rico earlier this year in response to a series of earthquakes, will be providing expertise and guidance on public assistance and individual assistance through experience working with FEMA on Major Disaster Declarations. Scheduled to depart Sept. 25, Cal OES personnel is expected to return Oct. 10.
Additionally, two non-state individuals – a city manager each from the cities of Malibu and Santa Rosa with experience in major disaster relief – will deploy alongside Cal OES to assist various local jurisdictions with establishing long-term recovery practices.
Previously, Cal OES deployed a commutations coordinator and communication assets to Oregon in response to the ongoing wildfires. The commutations coordinator, who deployed for 14 days on Sept. 14, is filling the role of coordinating with the communication leads in the field and with the statewide wireless interoperability coordinator in Oregon’s State Emergency Operations Center. Cal OES also sent 140 radios that Oregon is using for wildland fire response on a loan of 60-90 days.
As of Sept. 24, massive wildfires throughout Oregon have killed nine people and burned more than 1 million acres across nine counties – Marion, Clackamas, Lane, Lake, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lincoln.
Cal OES continues to monitor operations in Oregon and requests for additional EMAC assistance. EMAC, which includes the participation of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is a nationally recognized mutual-aid system that provides the foundation for states to request and send resources across their borders when impacted by a disaster.
California has regularly offered support to assist in response and recovery for disasters throughout the United States and internationally through EMAC requests. Since 1992, California-based State/National US&R Task Forces have been deployed to a long list of other state, national, and even international disasters including 2017’s Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, 1992 Hurricane Iniki (Hawaii), the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing, Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami catastrophe, the 2017 Mexico City, the 2015 Nepal Earthquake, and numerous hurricanes in 2018.