$6 Million in Grants Helping Oregon Fire Service Staff Up This Summer

Posted on July 7, 2022

Oregon State Fire Marshal – 07/07/22 9:17 AM

SALEM, Ore. – To boost capacity within the Oregon fire service, the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has awarded $6 million in grants to the structural fire service to hire firefighting staff during the 2022 wildfire season. 

The OSFM is excited to announce that 180 local fire districts and departments across Oregon were awarded $6 million in grant funding to support staffing through the 2022 wildfire season. As part of the OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon Initiative, this grant opportunity was available to all 306 local fire districts and departments.

“Our office has heard from multiple fire chiefs across Oregon who say this funding will have a profound, positive impact in communities across the state,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “Agencies will be able to have additional paid firefighters at the ready during these critical summer months. This will help to keep fires small and away from communities.”

The grant aims to bolster capacity within the Oregon fire service and the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System (OFMAS). The OSFM uses OFMAS to mobilize the Oregon fire service to incidents like wildfire and floods to help protect Oregonians, their homes, and critical infrastructure.

Local fire agencies were able to request up to $35,000 to support staffing during this critical time of year. This additional funding will increase on-duty capacity throughout the 2022 fire season at the local level and allow agencies to mobilize quickly to fires at the local, regional, and state (conflagration) levels.

“The community of Chiloquin Fire & Rescue and our mutual aid partners in Klamath County will benefit greatly. The recent 242 and Bootleg fires ravaged our communities, highlighting the need for a robust firefighting force, available anytime,” Chiloquin Fire & Rescue Chief Mike Cook said. “This grant will provide us the capability of using trained students, overtime staff, and volunteers during future events.”

Using this grant, Chiloquin Fire & Rescue plans to staff two Type 6 engines or one Type 3 and a Type I tender throughout the 2022 fire season. 

“Saturday, July 2nd was the first day our additional staff was on shift,” Cook said. “We had a smoke report that turned out to be a fire in heavy timber. The engine staffed through this grant was able to get the fire under control and turn it over to the Oregon Department of Forestry. This is proof the program is viable and a great addition to the small rural departments.”

Funding for this up staffing grant opportunity was made possible through the Oregon Legislature and Senate Bill 762.  

ABOUT RESPONSE READY OREGON 

The OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative was created to help bolster capacity and modernize wildfire response within the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System (OFMAS). The goal of Response Ready Oregon is to attack fires while they are small and keep them away from communities. To learn more about the OSFM or Response Ready Oregon, visit oregon.gov/osp/programs/sfm

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