Crews staged for firefighting

Crews are staged for firefighting at the U.S Forest Service Nursery (Marissa Olid/News 10.)

With rain and thunderstorms underway, firefighters are gearing up to battle any fires if needed. About 150 firefighters have gathered at the U.S. Forest Service Nursery, also known as the J. Herbert Stone Nursery in Central Point.

Lightning is a big cause for concern after having a dry spell.

Due to the conditions that are expected, U.S. Forest Service is housing extra resources for the Siskiyou National Forest in a staging area. The resources include: engines, water tankers, hand crews, dozers, and several command staff. Most of the crews are Oregon-based, local from Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, Central Point, and Grants Pass. However, there are also some resources from California, Nevada, and Montana. Due to the resources being local, crews get to go home at the end of the day to get a good night rest. For those not local, they are staying in a hotel.

Most crews arrived today for their first shift on the job. Upon arrival, crews checked-in and had their engines inspected along with making sure they have the proper equipment.

"Throughout today we are getting them briefed up, we are making sure they have all the proper equipment, their vehicles are inspected, that they have information on the weather forecast and they themselves are also briefing their crews. All of that is in anticipation of what could happen tonight and tomorrow with the lightening that's coming in," said Syndy Zerr, Staging Area Manager.

Zerr says they would much rather have them be briefed up and inspected so they could rapidly send them out to incidents.

"Our job here is to grab some of these resources that we have here and we will send them out to where the need is and it could be on state-protected land and we may be loaning some of these resources to our cooperators or they could be going to the service forest fires as they get reported," said Zerr.

Six smokes were detected and a mix of personnel have already been shifted around. Personnel from the Rogue River Ranger District and other sources staged at the staging area have been dispatched. However, depending on what unfolds over the next 24 to 48 hours, the staging area may look like a ghost town if more resources are dispatched.

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