Wallowa County is getting help from neighboring sheriff's offices as it battles the Elbow Creek Fire and works through evacuations.
That is, in part, due to Sheriff Joel Fish being treated by medical staff for an illness, the Wallowa County Sheriff's Office reported Saturday afternoon. Wallowa County deputy Paul Pagano has been appointed as the acting sheriff in the interim.
"The Sheriff's Office, working in conjunction with the Oregon State Sheriff's Association, is being assisted by the Baker County Sheriff's Office, Union County Sheriff's Office and the Oregon State Police," a press release from the sheriff's office stated.
Day-to-day operations as the sheriff's office works through wildfire evacuations and prepares for Chief Joseph Days will continue as normal, but the WCSO said efforts may be augmented by deputies from next-door counties.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Sheriff Fish and his family. We wish him a speedy recovery. We are committed to Wallowa County and by working together, along with our partners, we will continue to keep Wallowa County a safe place to live, visit, work and raise families," the sheriff's office said.
According to Union County Sheriff Cody Bowen, Baker County Sheriff Travis Ash reached out about helping in Wallowa.
"That's about all it took for me to say we will be there," he said. "Strong relationships with our neighboring counties is crucial and a priority for my office."
Bowen says the Union County Sheriff's Office will help out as long as needed and that the aid will come in the form of deputies voluntarily covering shifts in Wallowa County.
"What's important right now is that Wallowa County knows we are there to help," Bowen said.