Baertschiger and Kitzhaber discuss early fire season

Grants Pass, ORSenator 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.