Task Force Crew Helps Stop Grass Fire Near Idanha


Thanks to the quick actions of a crew along Highway 22 on Tuesday afternoon, a grass fire that popped up was stopped before it posed a serious threat. The Debris Management Task Force (Task Force) crew working on hazard tree removal in the Beachie Creek/Lionshead Fire area helped bring a quick end to a fire that ignited near Idanha on the Marion County/Linn County line.

An advance flagger on the Task Force crew initially spotted the grass fire in a field across the highway from the local fire department. He reported the fire to the crew’s foreman, who then went to check it out. Fortunately, Suluutaaq was working at nearby milepost 51.5 and was able to immediately mobilize a crew with a loader and water.

“When he got to the fire, he immediately realized that this fire was getting out of control quickly,” said Project Manager Joel Zeni. “He came up with a plan to flank it and they went after it.”

The crew had a water tender on-site as part of the required fire safety mitigation practices all Task Force crews follow.

“I think it’s fair to say that there would’ve been houses lost had that machine not been there,” Zeni said.

Although Idanha was put under a level 2 evacuation, Suluataaq’s quick response was instrumental in getting the fire under control and preventing damage to structures. Fire crews from as far away as Mt. Angel responded to fully extinguish the fire, which was limited to approximately 2 acres.

“Any way that we can help out to make sure that the community recovers and continues to grow is vitally important to us,” said Zeni.

See more about the incident on local coverage from KPTV.

About Author

Tony Andersen is the strategic communications director for the statewide wildfire cleanup effort with the Debris Management Task Force, led by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

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