During and after the devastating events of September 8th
, City of Ashland employees have been on the front lines of the firefight and post-fire response. Hereís a brief accounting of our work thus far:
- Ashland Fire & Rescue responded with initial attack that kept the fire from consuming homes in Ashland. Ultimately, nearly all firefighters and staff reported back to help, from as far away as Bend and Klamath Falls. The few who didnít were evacuating their own homes and families. The Fire Marshal leads the ongoing fire cause investigation and two department staff are now conducting damage assessments in Talent and Phoenix.
- Ashland Police officers were among the first on the scene and worked well into the night to evacuate people in Ashland, Talent, and Phoenix. Officers and detectives investigated the cause of the fire and the fatality in Ashland.
- A combination of Administration, Police, and Fire employees launched 16 Nixle notifications during the fire and into the next two days to alert Ashland residents of the fire situation and subsequent traffic, smoke, and recovery resources.
- An Emergency Operations Center was opened the day of the fire to support fire operations.
- City fleet maintenance staff shuttled fuel to emergency crews on the front line, allowing them to keep fighting the fire and helping residents.
- Public Works staff set up and staffed roadblocks, shuttled water to fire engines on the fire front, and even put out fires with the Wastewater Divisionís pipe cleaning water truck. Electric Department safely cut and restored power in the area of the fire for firefighter and citizen safety, while Water division workers helped manage water connections in the fire area.
- Engineering and GIS staff designed damage assessment maps, images, and tools to help get an accurate count of the structures lost, which is critical for FEMA funding.
- Community Development staff are assisting with housing needs and spearhead the Emergency Operations Center planning section.
- Parks and Recreation supported spot fire monitoring and put outs along with hazardous tree and vegetation removal post fire from the Ashland portion of the Bear Creek Greenway. Parks staff are the Cityís lead for supporting recovery through creation of a community resource at ashland.or.us/ashlandresponse, staffing a phone line, and working with regional partners to inventory spaces for temporary housing needs.
Please know that many staff across the City are busy helping in any way they can and that a handful of City workers lost their homes in the fire and need our support. As the recovery phase begins, weíll be assisting Jackson County and the cities of Talent and Phoenix through the long and difficult process as our budget and workload allows.