Seven South King Fire and Rescue firefighters were deployed to the Oregon wildfires to assist with search and rescue operations as part of the Washington State Task Force-1 FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (WA-TF1).
Wildfires began consuming thousands of acres in western Oregon about a week ago and have become some of the most destructive blazes in state history, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB). The Oregon fires have so far claimed the lives of at least nine people and have burned countless homes and businesses to the ground.
The deployed crew from the Federal Way and Des Moines area includes: Captain S. Smith, Lt. R. Smith, Lt. J. Nielsen, Lt. R. White, Lt. R. Anderson, D.E. T. McKenney and Battalion Chief Ryan Herrera.
The Type 1 team, consisting of 70 people from Pierce and King counties and the City of Seattle Fire Department, left on Sept. 11.
Based out of the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management, this team could be deployed for up to 14 days.
Deployed crews include representatives from Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Seattle Fire Department, South King Fire and Rescue, Tacoma Fire Department, Valley Regional Fire Authority, Central Pierce Fire and Rescue, West Pierce Fire and Rescue, Bellevue Fire Department, Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, Shoreline Fire Department, Renton Fire Department, Tukwila Fire Department, Woodinville Fire Department, Gig Harbor Fire Department, Mercer Island Fire Department, Bothell Fire Department and Redmond Fire Department.
The entire team is comprised of more than 210 team members from a variety of organizations including fire departments, hospitals, law enforcement, private companies and public works agencies, according to a Sept. 11 news release.
Canine teams accompany WA-TF1 members on all deployments.
Missions in Oregon may include physical search and rescue operations in damaged/collapsed structures, emergency medical care for entrapped survivors, search and rescue operations in a water environment, hazardous materials evaluations, structural/hazard evaluations of buildings needed for immediate occupancy to support disaster relief operations and more.
WA-TF1 was established in 1991, and there are 28 US&R teams across the United States.