Oregon enhances wildfire response with state-wide engine program

April 15, 2024

Oregon State Fire Marshal launches new engine program to boost firefighting capabilities

Oregon has taken a significant step in bolstering its firefighting resources through the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Engine Program.

This initiative is focused on the strategic acquisition and deployment of advanced firefighting equipment throughout the state.

A comprehensive 2021 gap analysis survey, in collaboration with fire defense boards across Oregon, has informed this initiative, leading to a well-structured approach aimed at improving the state’s wildfire response capabilities.

According to the Oregon State Fire Marshal, the program was designed with inputs from a diverse committee of fire agencies to ensure it addresses various perspectives and needs: “Our goal is to support local efforts in fire response, enhance regional mutual aid, and manage large-scale fires more effectively.”

Equipment and strategic deployment

The core equipment provided through this program includes Types 3 and 6 engines along with tactical tenders.

These assets are crucial in assisting local agencies with fire containment and community protection.

The program encourages, although it does not require, the use of this equipment in both local and regional operations.

Funding for this initiative was secured through Senate Bill 762, also known as Oregon’s wildfire omnibus bill, passed in 2021.

“The apparatus are a backbone of our efforts and are vital for enhancing our capacity to combat the increasing threat of wildfires in our state,” said the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office.

Award announcement and recipient obligations

Recently, the Oregon State Fire Marshal announced the recipients of the Engine Program, providing 76 local fire agencies with essential firefighting tools.

The selection process involved a thorough review by a committee that included members from the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association, Oregon Volunteer Firefighters Association, and Oregon State Fire Fighters Council.

This process was guided by principles ensuring fair distribution, infrastructure support, consideration of recent awards, and staffing capabilities.

“Recipients will enter a contractual partnership with the Oregon State Fire Marshal to strengthen our collective response to wildfires and enhance the capabilities across regional and state levels,” the spokesperson added.

Apparatus delivery and readiness

All awarded apparatus are equipped in accordance with the 2022 Oregon fire service mobilization plan, which is tailored for scenarios involving wildland-urban interfaces.

The equipment, including hoses and nozzles, will belong to the recipient agencies, who are responsible for maintaining it as per the mobilization plan.

Modifications to the apparatus to suit specific agency needs can be requested and, once approved, will be funded by the recipient agency.

As of early 2024, delivery dates for the various types of equipment are projected between January and October.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office has urged all recipient agencies to submit the required documentation promptly to facilitate the process.

FSJA Comment

The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Engine Program represents a proactive approach to managing the growing wildfire threat in the region.

By equipping local fire agencies with modern, versatile firefighting apparatus and establishing a structured deployment strategy, Oregon is enhancing its ability to respond to wildfires effectively.

This initiative strengthens local and regional firefighting efforts and plays a crucial role in the broader strategy of disaster preparedness and response in the state.

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