04-16-2004, 06:36 AM #1
National Guard deployment could cause firefighter shortage
ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) - The war in Iraq may leave the state short
of resources to battle forest fires, especially in drought-stricken
By May 1, an estimated 40 percent of personnel in Iraq will be
Guardsmen and reservists, officials said.
That poses a serious risk to every state in terms of fire
management given that one of the National Guards main duties is
providing disaster relief, said Mike Hartwell, fire management
officer for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Vale.
"There could be big fires in Oregon, Idaho or Washington, all
three, or none this year. We just don't know," Hartwell said.
Oregon U.S. Rep. Darlene Hooley said she is concerned the
deployment will leave a hole in Oregon's security. Kathie Eastman,
spokeswoman for Oregon U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, said the
congressman has similar concerns.
But Oregon National Guard spokesman Maj. Arnold Strong dismissed
the risk, pointing out that the largest state deployment of the
National Guard since World War II occurred during the summer of
2002, when wildfires in the southwestern part of the state drained
Then, Oregon had more National Guard in Iraq per capita than any
other state. But even so, there were still an estimated 60 percent
of Oregon Guardsmen left to deal with state security matters,
Strong did concede that with the drought in eastern Oregon, a
potential does exists for a particularly severe fire season.
Eastern Oregon's 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Brigade,
headquartered in La Grande, was placed on alert in March for a
possible deployment overseas. &
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04-19-2004, 01:52 PM #2
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
there is rumor around here, that US Coast Guard might start hiring Civilian.
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