News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Cloverdale Fire has a new firefighting tool

The wildland-urban interface firefighting capabilities of the Cloverdale Fire District took a big jump last week as the district took delivery of a new water tender as part of the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Engine Program.

The Cloverdale engine was among the first three water tenders delivered in the program - others went to the Amity Fire District and the Winston-Dillard Fire District. These tenders are the first of 30 that will be distributed across the state, boosting the resources available to local structural fire agencies.

"We are thrilled to see the first of these new water tenders delivered to our fire districts," Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. "This program represents a significant investment in the safety of our communities and the effectiveness of our firefighting efforts."

Fire Chief Thad Olsen was delighted with the acquisition, which came at no cost to the District.

"Number-one, it gives us a modern, safe, firefighting apparatus for our members," he said.

The truck is designated as a water tender, but can do a lot more than simply hauling water to a fire site.

"It's basically called an attack tender," Chief Olsen said. "It's kind of a jack-of-all trades with a lot more water than a tender or a Type-3 engine."

The two-seater unit is equipped with spray nozzles that allow the truck to get water on a fire while the rig is moving - what firefighters call "pump & roll."

"It's a lot faster to fight fire from the cab of the truck," Chief Olsen said.

It's also equipped with a deck gun that can put a large volume of water on a fire, and it comes loaded with two structural-fire-sized hoses.

The terms of the grant require the District to roll the rig on all incidents, which means that firefighting across Sisters Country will reap the benefits, thanks to robust mutual aid agreements that put units from a variety of agencies on any fire that breaks out, regardless of where it is in the local area. Sisters, Cloverdale, Black Butte Ranch, Oregon Department of Forestry, and the U.S. Forest Service all support each other in an effort to keep fires from spreading and becoming larger threats.

"That's our main goal, so that we're not losing structures and lives," Chief Olsen said.

The state fire marshal purchased 76 apparatus as part of the OSFM Engine Program, including 26 Type-3 engines, 20 Type-6 engines, and 30 water tenders. To date, eight Type-3 engines have been delivered, with more expected to arrive throughout the summer. Deliveries of water tenders and Type-6 engines will continue through the coming weeks. The OSFM Engine Program is funded through 2021's Senate Bill 762. The goal is to modernize equipment within the Oregon structural fire service, ensuring local fire agencies have the necessary tools to effectively combat wildfires and protect lives and property.

The Cloverdale unit is expected to have a significant impact toward that goal.

"It's a game changer for us," Chief Olsen said. "It really is."


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