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Nevada firefighter recognized for actions during wildfires

Nevada National Security Site firefighter Michael Porter, who led a Nevada search and rescue team that was deployed Sept. 12-21 to Oregon to fight the state’s wildfires, was honored by the Clark County Commission on Tuesday.

A firefighter for 26 years, Porter served as search team manager of the Nevada Task Force 1 team, which he has been part of for 14 years, including seven as a canine handler.

The September 2020 Oregon wildfires consisted of 45 active fires spanning more than 500,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing evacuation. NVTF-1 is one of 28 teams in FEMA’s National Urban Search and Rescue emergency response system. Each National Incident Management System Type 1 US&R task force comprises 80 members specializing in search, rescue, medicine, hazardous materials, logistics and planning, including technical specialists such as physicians, structural engineers and canine search teams.

The NVTF-1 team — three human remains detection canines and six personnel — worked in conjunction with the Utah Task Force (80 personnel) and four single-resource HRD canine teams from Florida (two), Colorado (one) and Arizona (one team with two personnel) for the remainder of the operation.

Over the course of seven operational periods, the team covered the area of the fire in the Oregon towns of Talent, Phoenix and Ashland, as identified by the Jackson County Sheriff’s department. The team surveyed and marked 6,035 waypoints, conducted 4,301 structure evaluations and searched 3,003 structures and 1,628 vehicles.

“It allows us to assist the country during times of need,” Porter said of his ongoing involvement with the team. “We’re also able to maintain our skills, get national-level training and interact with other responders in Nevada and throughout the United States.”

Porter joined the NNSS Fire and Rescue team in May 2019 after retiring from the City of Henderson earlier that year.

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