Oregon National Guard heads to wildfire near Crater Lake

Over 100 Oregon National Guard members are deploying

Crater Lake (Chantal Anderson)
Crater Lake (Chantal Anderson)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Over 100 Oregon National Guard members are deploying to southern Oregon to fight a fire near Crater Lake as the state endures peak wildfire season, less than a week before the eclipse.

Lt. Col. Martin Balakas said on Tuesday as the soldiers took refresher training on fighting wilderness fires that they will take a bus Wednesday to battle a blaze near Oregon’s iconic Crater Lake.

They are among about 375 Oregon National Guard members who were activated in 2015 to fight fires, including the Canyon Creek Fire near John Day that destroyed 43 homes and nearly 100 barns, workshops and other structures.

The part-time soldiers were wearing yellow hardhats Tuesday as they used tools to cut and move brush into piles where they were doused with a hose.