Jackson County today signed a contract to commission a review of its emergency response to the September wildfires
ASHLAND, Oregon – Jackson County today signed an official contract to commission a review of its emergency response to the September wildfires.
County deputy senior administrator Harvey Bragg told NewsWatch 12 today that he signed the county’s contract with emergency management consulting group IEM this week.
The North Carolina-based company works with government agencies and private sector organizations to improve disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
Jackson County is contracting with IEM to review its response to the Almeda and South Obenchain fires that began on September 8.
Although firefighters and law enforcement responded, the county’s emergency alert system did not activate.
Thousands of people had to evacuate their homes and businesses in Rogue Valley and evacuate an area from Butte Falls to Shady Cove.
According to Jackson County damage assessments, the two fires destroyed 2,666 properties, of which 2,491 were residential structures and 171 commercial properties.
The Oregon Forest Department said these fires, along with the Slater fire, started the same day, fueled by strong winds every 20 years.
The Almeda Fire burned approximately 3,000 acres primarily across Talent and Phoenix, Ore., And the South Obenchain Fire burned approximately 33,000 acres between Butte Falls and Shady Cove.
Outside of Jackson County, the Slater Fire burned approximately 150,000 acres in northern Siskiyou County, California, and southern Josephine County, Oregon. It burned for two months before reaching 100% containment this month on December 10, 2020.