The mayor of Guanajuato and five city firefighters are lending a hand in Ashland, Oregon, where over 200 firefighting teams have been battling devastating forest fires.
The firefighters are mainly rescuing victims and providing medical attention to injured animals in the city, parts of which were ordered to evacuate last week. The firefighters also have forest fire training, said Mayor Alejandro Navarro Saldaña.
The five men have also been helping at Ashland-area shelters and assistance centers, including an impromptu community support center set up in a Mexican restaurant.
Wildfires across the state have already consumed more than 1 million acres of land and have forced tens of thousands of Oregonians out of their homes.
“It is apocalyptic,” said Senator Jeff Merkley Sunday on the ABC program This Week. “I drove 600 miles up and down the state, and I never escaped the smoke. We have thousands of people who have lost their homes. I could have never envisioned this.”
Drinking water and electricity are still only available intermittently in the Ashland area.
Guanajuato’s offer of assistance to Ashland was born from an already strong relationship between the two locales, which have been sister cities for 51 years.
“The inhabitants of Ashland and the inhabitants of Oregon would have surely done the same for us, and that’s why we are looking forward to it,” Navarro said in a Facebook post just before leaving Mexico. “Because in Guanajuato Capital, there is fiber, there is talent, and there is capacity.”