MEDFORD, Ore. — The Oregon National Guard has helped support firefighting efforts at the Rum Creek Fire that has burned approximately 17,000 acres in Josephine County.
Fifty-one Guard members have helped secure the area, manning road closure points in the Merlin area since Aug. 29. The Guard also dispatched an HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to the Medford Airport Aug. 31 to help if any firefighters or support staff are injured and need rapid transport for medical treatment.
“We are here in Medford for MEDEVAC standby for the wildland fires and are the dedicated MEDEVAC asset for any of the firefighting crews in the area,” said Chief Warrant Officer Corey Wadsworth, HH-60 pilot.
Teams of Soldiers and Airmen staff road closure points on the smoke-filled roads around the fire’s perimeter.
“We’re just trying to keep everybody safe, keep the bad people out, and let the good people in, that kind of a thing,” said Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Joshua Rose. “The overall experience out here has been great. A lot of the residents have been really appreciative of what we’re doing out here.”
The Oregon National Guard has a history of helping fight wildfires, in keeping with the National Guard motto, “Always Ready, Always There.”
The Oregon Guard has several firefighting crews to support civilian firefighters when needed. Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen are volunteers who typically serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year.