Oregon, NorCal fire agencies prepare for wildfire season at annual SONCAL Conference

Multiple fire agencies from northern California and Oregon have come together to discuss the upcoming wildfire season.

The SONCAL conference began in 1967, allowing firefighters to connect and plan for the upcoming wildfire season.

“We all get together to meet and go over operational plans, agreements, things like staffing, some of our aviation assets, and training.
And it’s also just a great way to network and meet our partners that we may not necessarily see all the time,” CAL FIRE Division Chief Paul Sarvona said.

Presentations from firefighters across fire agencies and their personal experiences help guide the conversation.

Vendors are also present representing mapping equipment, emergency support systems, and drone technology.

This year’s conference comes after a hefty fire season with the Smith River igniting much of the Oregon-California border.

“I think there’s always something to be learned from the past fire season. Whether it’s just meeting the right people if there’s new people in different roles, or looking back at things that we can improve upon. We’re looking back on some of those incidents from this past summer and really being honest about where we hit snags, where we can improve,” Oregon Department of Forestry public information officer Natalie Weber said.

The conference continues on Wednesday.

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