‘Like nothing I had ever seen’: Mass. Task Force describes wildfire damage in Oregon

BOSTON (WHDH) – A group of first responders from Massachusetts has returned home after battling blazes in Oregon that were beyond anything they had ever seen.

Twenty-five members of the Massachusetts Urban Search and Rescue Task Force flew to Portland to help people affected by the wildfires, which have devastated the West Coast. Thousands of people have been evacuated and millions of acres have burned to the ground, with fires still raging.

“The fire traveled so fast and so intense and just completely wiped out structures,” said task force member Bobby Better.  “All the vegetation low to the ground was completely burned away, and big heavy timbers, and in some cases, there wasn’t even the ash.”

“It was like nothing I had ever seen before,” said task force member John Forristall. “Over 39, 40 years I’ve seen a few things, it was nothing like what we saw out there.”

Better said the team worked through heavy smoke to check on structures, look for victims and make sure everyone had evacuated. He said the experience was dangerous, but also fulfilling.

“I spoke to my guys and I said from the bottom of my heart, that what we do is so rewarding and it’s why we do it,” Better said.

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