Banks volunteers among firefighters sent to Camp Fire

(KATU Photo)

On Friday, the Washington County Strike Team took off for California to help with the massive and deadly Camp Fire. Among them, three volunteers and one captain from Banks Fire District 13.

“It is life changing for them,” Chief Rodney Linz said.

Linz has fought his share of wildfires but this one is different: His 20-year-old daughter, Samantha, is among the volunteers.

“It’s definitely a different emotional state for my wife and me. It’s our first time our daughter’s been away and sending her down where there is tragedy happening like it is,” he said.

But he says they are all family and they all look out for one another.

“It’s always a little concerning because it is my daughter, but I’m always concerned about any of them because at the fire department they are a second family,” Linz said.

Looking out for each other is critical, especially since California fires are different from Oregon because of wind speeds.

Beyond that, as the death toll rises, that too weighs heavily on the team.

“The last couple of days, their mission has been putting out spot fires and doing body recovering as needed; it’s an emotionally tasking assignment,” Linz said.

Back at home the focus of the fire house and the town is support as they await the return of their local heroes.

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