BLY, Ore. Oregon Wing Civil Air Patrol (ORWG) is assisting the Oregon Office of Emergency Management and the Oregon Department of Forestry in the Bootleg Fire Response near Bly, Ore.

ORWG members are volunteering as radio operators, where they are providing communication services for two eight hour shifts per day. They are handling status reports, requests for resources, release of resources and medical emergency radio equipment, alongside firefighting personnel.

There are currently four ORWG incident radio operators working with professional firefighting and communications personnel from state agencies. The ORWG members work in teams of two in eight-hour shifts to provide assistance at the fire forward operating base outside of Bly, Oregon.

“It’s an austere location; CAP members are sleeping in a field, in tents,” David Rudawitz, ORWG incident commander said. “But we’re helping fill an understaffed area that’s needed.”

ORWG members will be on-scene into August as firefighting crews battle the Bootleg Fire in Southern Oregon. The Bootleg Fire, located in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, has burned over 350,000 acres and is 38% contained. ORWG also assisted in the Oregon wildfire fighting efforts in September and October 2020.

About Civil Air Patrol

Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and more than 2,000 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 130 lives in fiscal 2020. 

CAP’s 54,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. 

Members also serve as mentors to over 20,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. One of the premier public service organizations in America, CAP benefits the nation with an estimated economic impact of $209 million annually.

AT&T FirstNet equipment deployed at fire