Grants Pass, OR – Senator Herman Baertschiger (R-Grants Pass) requested a conference call last week with Governor John Kitzhaber (D), and was joined on the call by Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) and Senator Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg). They expressed their growing concern over the severity of the early fire season Oregon is experiencing as well as outlining the explicit need for an emergency preparedness plan.
“I have been fighting fire in Southern Oregon for over 30 years now, and I do not want us to underestimate the potential danger and damage to peoples’ lives if we are not paying attention and ready to act if needed,” said Baertschiger.
Baertschiger, Ferrioli and Kruse detailed their concern over potential damage, health risks, and evacuation issues. They are very appreciative of the willingness the Governor and his office showed in their immediate response for a serious discussion.
“My district in particular is being drastically affected by these fires,” said Kruse. “We really need to be ready to think and act on our feet as we see the continued damage of this fire season, both on land and the negative effects we are seeing in air quality.”
The majority of the fire is burning in the northern Josephine and southern Douglas counties. Air quality will continue to be a concern as fire crews attempt to contain the blazes.
“Fire has its own schedule and waits for nobody. We have to be ready to address the concerns and needs of the citizens with short notice.” said Baertschiger. “It is my hope this conversation is just the beginning of a contingency plan being put in place.”
Baertschiger has served on several county boards and tasks forces. He and his wife have raised their two sons on a ranch west of Grants Pass. He is an avid hunter, fisherman and enjoys horseback riding and is a private pilot.