Local firefighters deployed to fight Camp Fire in California

(Courtesy: Melissa Cano)

As of Friday morning, Illinois Valley Fire District Engine 8903 is being deployed to California to help combat the Camp Fire that has covered over 70,000 acres since it first erupted Thursday morning.

IVFD will be a part of the Rogue Valley Strike Team 7, according to their Facebook announcement just before 10 a.m.

The Rogue Valley Strike Team consists of personnel from Illinois Valley Fire District, Medford Fire-Rescue, Jackson County Fire District #3 and #5, Ashland Fire & Rescue, and Rogue River Fire.

The Strike Team has approximately 20 crew members, according to Melissa Cano, Emergency Manager for Medford Fire-Rescue and the City of Medford. They set off late Friday morning for California for a 14-day rotation at the fire. Firegighters won't know their specific assignments until they arrive, but according to Cano they will most likely "be working on structure protection and triage."

"We are proud to assist our fire family and communities in need, as they often assist us each summer during our challenging Fire Seasons," Cano said.

Ashland Fire Chief Michael D'Orazi says that while it may seem late in the season for a fire like this, he was not at all surprised. D'Orazi says and his team are more than willing to do their part assisting in structure protection.

"I myself have family who were evacuated from that area and I know how devastating these types of events can be, so whatever we can do to help we're more than happy to do so," D'Orazi says.

D'Orazi says this illustrates an unprecedented coordination between agencies and states in fighting fire in recent years, something we're likely to see more of moving forward.

In the latest update issued from Cal Fire Friday morning estimates that "2,000 structures have been destroyed so far."

The Camp Fire has claimed the lives of five civilians, with additional injuries to many others, including three firefighters.

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