Fire Alert

Gov talks fire crew resources in Two Bulls' wake

Says recent change in funding rules will help

Governor speaks on Two Bulls Fire

BEND, Ore. - Gov. John Kitzhaber weighed in with NewsChannel 21 on the region's firefighting resources as firefighters continue mop-up operations on the Two Bulls Fire near Bend.

"We've got a very good response set up and the reality is resources are very scarce," the governor said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon.

No structures were lost in the 6,900-acre blaze. That's a stark contrast to the Awbrey Hall Fire that burned even closer to Bend back in August of 1990. The Awbrey Hall fire burned only about half that acreage, but claimed 22 homes.

The governor says we've learned a lot since the Awbrey Hall Fire, but additional resources remain an issue.

"Part of the answer is having adequate resources to fight the fire" Kitzhaber said, "but at the end of the day the real answer is having the resources to thin the forest so we reduce the fire risk."

The passage of new legislation separates the federal budget dedicated to fighting fires from the budget used for forest management.

That was not the case in years past, when the costs to fight forest fires actually reduced the resources left available for forest management efforts.

Kitzhaber says this policy change will help reduce the risk of forest fires in the future.

The governor also commended Central Oregon's efforts in fighting the Two Bulls Fire.

"I really want to commend the first responders and also the folks in Bend," he said. "Having a thousand people descend on your community is no easy task, and I've heard from the incident command and some individual firefighters that they just felt very, very welcomed."

An Oregon Department of Forestry team transferred command of fire management to a local team working out of the Sisters unit of the ODF on Saturday. At that time, the fire was declared 100 percent contained.

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