Milo Academy Hosts Firefighters

October 06, 2017 | Kathy Hernandez

In early August, lightning strikes ignited more than a dozen wildfires east of Milo Adventist Academy near Tiller, Ore. Milo provided the firefighters an ideal location to set up camp near the fires known as the Falcon Complex but outside the danger zone. The Northwest Incident Management Team 8 quickly took action, and within two days 700 personnel, some of whom traveled from Alaska, Indiana, Arizona and even Puerto Rico, had arrived to help protect our national forests. They slept in tents at night or in the Milo gym during the day, working 12-hour shifts for 14 days straight.

Each Sabbath evening during fire camp, Milo staff and students distributed treats to the firefighters as they arrived back on campus in the evening and held up signs that said “Thank You!” One firefighter expressed his appreciation for the goodies, admitting “I may have driven by more than once."

The freshman and sophomore classes and several staff had the privilege of visiting the fire camp for a guided tour that included their mobile cafeteria, laundry, shower trailers, store, command and communication tents, and much more. Milo’s athletic director, Chad Lambie, says, "I enjoyed the radar that was in place to see the smoke and weather patterns. They were also able to communicate with satellite communication (Sat Com), high frequency (HF) and very high frequency (VHF). This capability is usually only [used] by the military. It was also interesting how the supply store had anything they needed when it came to clothes, shovels and lights.”

The Falcon Complex fire covered 3,400 acres and was 35 percent contained as of Aug. 25, when management shifted and the size of the camp reduced to about 300 personnel.  

“I cannot say enough about the Milo Seventh-day Adventist Academy,” says incident commander Tim Keith. "They were terrific hosts for our camp, gracious, generous, helpful, and our firefighters really loved the ice cream and cookie packets that the students handed out.”

Milo principal Randy Thornton expressed appreciation to Team 8 when they were reassigned. "It’s been an honor and privilege to host this fine wildfire management team over the past couple of weeks here at Milo Academy," he told them. "We hope you enjoy a much-deserved rest, and we pray for your blessing and safety as you are redeployed."