ST. PAUL, MN (STL.News) Minnesota Governor Tim Walz today announced 29 Minnesota firefighters and nine fire trucks will travel to Salem, Oregon on Tuesday morning to help protect structures threatened by wildfires across the state. The authorization follows a request from Oregon officials through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
“Wildfires continue to put our fellow Americans’ lives at risk while devastating homes, businesses, and communities,” said Governor Walz. “The Minnesota fire service is known for stepping up in critical situations, putting their lives on the line to save others. I am proud of the way they’ve answered this call to serve. My thoughts are with the residents of Oregon, California, and Washington during this harrowing time.”
Oregon officials requested 10 fire strike teams or task forces from around the country to help with response efforts. Minnesota will send two task forces comprised of firefighters and trucks from Brainerd, Fisher, Bemidji, Eden Prairie, Motley, Cross Lake, and Spring Lake Park/Blaine/Mounds View fire departments. The teams will leave from Fergus Falls at 9 a.m. Tuesday after equipment inspections and a mission briefing.
“The firefighters on these teams are trained to protect lives and property during dangerous, stressful and volatile situations,” State Fire Marshal Jim Smith said.
EMAC is a mutual aid agreement between all 50 states. A requesting state asks for resources based on their needs and while any state can respond, there is no obligation to participate.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management division coordinates the state’s EMAC requests.