Observer staff

Union County firefighters are headed down to Southern California after multiple wildfires threaten major populated cities.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal, through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, has activated its Agency Operations Center and deployed 15 strike teams with equipment and personnel who are now actively engaged in assisting with the wildfires in California. Among those strike teams are firefighters from La Grande, La Grande Rural, Imbler and North Powder fire departments.

All Oregon resources have been assigned to either the Thomas Fire (seven Oregon strike teams) burning near Ventura, California, or the Creek Fire (eight Oregon strike teams) burning near Sylmar, California, according to a press release from the Oregon State Fire Marshal. They are very busy currently working on their assignments. There are 269 personnel and 75 apparatus from Oregon, according to the release.

"Today's forecasted weather will be a test to all firefighters and residents with winds expected at up to 60 mph," said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple in the release. "These winds are expected to last through Friday, possibly diminishing over the weekend and picking back up again at the beginning of next week."

California OES reports the Thomas Fire is at 96,000 acres and 5 percent contained, and the Creek Fire is at 12,605 acres and 10 percent contained.

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