The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office supported a call for aid from Butte County, California, by sending five of its Search and Rescue volunteers to Paradise to help with the search for missing persons from the Camp Fire incident. The call for searchers came as an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request, which is the nation’s state-to-state mutual aid system. When a state has exhausted its own resources for disaster response it can ask other states, usually those close by, to provide resources. The requests are facilitated by each state’s office of emergency management, and coordinated through local county emergency managers.
Klamath’s Search and Rescue volunteers deployed late Sunday afternoon as part of a 42-searcher team, made up of members of the California Oregon Regional Search and Rescue Task Force, or CORSAR. Other CORSAR counties contributing in this effort include Douglas, Jackson, Lake, and Josephine. The team is expected to operate for three days and will return home in time for Thanksgiving. While EMAC requests can typically last up to 14 days, because Search and Rescue members are strictly volunteer-based their deployments were shortened. However, both Oregon and Klamath County expect to send additional search support over the coming weeks.
Led by Search and Rescue Commander Brian Bryson, Klamath’s team is comprised of Bill Wood, Chris Neterer, Ben Tooker, and Dick Garbutt. The team expected long days and unsettling work, but all agreed it was the right thing to do. “This is what Search and Rescue is – this is what we do. We take on missions hoping to perform rescues and help people. Butte County would do the same for us,” said Bryson.
Supporting the Camp Fire incident makes it the eleventh time this year that Oregon has answered an EMAC request, which included sending resources to Hurricane Michael, the Massachusetts’s pipeline explosion, and Southern California wildfires; this is the second time this year that Klamath County resources have deployed for Oregon.