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Press Release
July 16, 2002
Oregon National Guard assembling troops for firefighter training
 
Salem-With over 100 unfilled 20-man-crew requests for fire support, Gov. John Kitzhaber has called up the Oregon National Guard to assist in the wildfire suppression efforts. The Oregon National Guard will begin assembling troops tomorrow, July 17, 2002, in response to the governor's call.

The first two firefighter training schools will begin on July 19, 2002, and will be held at the LaGrande and Bend National Guard Armories. Soldiers will undergo a 30-hour basic firefighting course. One hundred and twenty-five soldiers will be at each location learning safety on the fire line, dousing hot spots, and general firefighting skills. The 125 soldiers will be split into five crews of 20 people each, with five additional support personnel on each crew.
 
On July 23, 2002, two more firefighter training schools for 125 soldiers will be held at the Bend National Guard Armory and at Jackson Armory in Portland.
 
The soldiers will be from the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry, from Eastern Oregon; the 1st Battalion, 82nd Cavalry, from the Willamette Valley and Bend; the 1249th Engineer Battalion from the valley; and the 2nd Battalion, 218th Field Artillery from Portland
 
The firefighting training instructors are from the Bureau of Public Safety, Standards and Training (BPSST), the Coos County Fire District, and private instructors hired by the Oregon Department of Forestry
 
Contract crews are slowly returning to Oregon as suppression efforts wane in other areas of the west. At this time, there is no word of which fires the National Guard soldiers will be sent to.
 
For more information contact:
 
Kay Fristad
 503-584-3917
(503) 931-5179 Cell