“We don’t fight fires, but if we can stop some of the damage that can occur from a fire before it actually happens, then we’re here.”
WARM SPRINGS, Ore. (KTVZ) – Crews from Team Rubicon at the museum in Warm Springs on Friday felled trees, trimmed branches, cleared brush and conducted general fuel and fire reduction.
Bill Terrill, Incident Commander for Warm Springs Operation with Team Rubicon, has already fought fires in Warm Springs and is happy to help reduce future risk.
“We’re out here to basically help them because they don’t have the manpower to do this all by themselves,” Terrill said.
Team Rubicon is a veterans and first responders-based national organization that supports communities before, during and after disasters.
The group of nearly 20 people who will be working in Warm Springs over the next few days is made up mostly of veterans, first responders and some civilians, all of whom work here on a volunteer basis.
The non-profit organization was founded in 2010 and provided aid after the earthquake in Haiti.
After last year’s S-503 fire blackened nearly 7,000 acres in Warm Springs and the Lionshead fire that spread to Detroit the year before, Team Rubicon knew it had to get involved.
“We don’t fight fires. But if we can prevent some of the damage that can happen from a fire before it actually happens, then we’re here,” Terrill said. “And we tend to focus on areas that need help.”
Warm Springs Confederate Tribes tribal emergency manager Dan Martinez applauded Team Rubicon’s support.
“Well, it’s been a challenge getting outside help considering the big climate issues at stake,” Martinez said. “Rubicon came up to the table and offered his services, and of course I didn’t want to refuse.”
Martinez knows how vulnerable the entire Warm Springs area is to wildfires.
“We have to look around our residences, make sure we have lines of defense and make sure we’re prepared for the summer,” Martinez said. “Could be hot, might be cold but right now the fields are drying up.”
As Team Rubicon focuses on areas around the museum, casino, and Highway 26, Martinez feels blessed that every part of Warm Springs will be better positioned to mitigate risk, save homes, and potentially save lives.
“By reducing that risk, we also increase safety for the community as well as for the travelers who come through the museum, especially those who visit the museum,” Martinez said. “It’s a good thing that’s happening.”