National Guard prepares to fight Horse Prairie Fire

125 guard members will go to southern Oregon to fight fires

Members of the Oregon's Third National Guard team completed their training to fight the Horse Prairie Fire on September 4, 2017. (KOIN)
Members of the Oregon's Third National Guard team completed their training to fight the Horse Prairie Fire on September 4, 2017. (KOIN)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — For the third time this fire season, Oregon Governor Kate Brown is calling on the National Guard to help fight fires across the state.

The National Guard is made up of essentially everyday citizens who are willing to go into action when they are called up. They aren’t firefighters, but after their call came in, members spent a week preparing to do just that. The culmination of that training was a simulated 9-acre fire.

More about the Horse Prairie Fire 

“They’re putting their life, their school, their family, everything on hold to go respond to these emergencies,” Sgt. Matthew McCreery with the Oregon Department of Forestry said.

The 125 citizen-soldiers got hands-on training in fighting fire with fire at the Oregon Public Safety Academy site in Salem.

“The classroom portion is important but being able to apply what we learned in class and to develop our situational awareness,” National Guard Cpt. Andrew Shaal said. “To feel the heat of the flames, to smell that smoke, to understand that difference being next to a fire before we actually go down to southern Oregon to experience it.”

This group will join firefighters working to control the 12,813-acre Horse Prairie Fire in southern Oregon on September 5.