Harney County fire chief resigns, sides with armed protesters

"I've been told by Steve to distance myself from this committee of public safety.

I've been told that we don't know what we're doing. I've been told that my life is in danger. I've been told all kinds of things. I will not be told what to do," he said. "I have my own mind, and I will use my own mind, not somebody else's."

Briels was fire chief for the city of Burns since 1984. He retired and became the Harney County fire chief in 2010.

The Bundy occupation of the wildlife refuge started Jan. 2 after a community protest to support two local ranchers who were sent back to federal prison for setting fire to public land next to their own land, and to support land rights for ranchers across the country.

Bundy has maintained he wants a peaceful occupation of the refuge. Briels also said Wednesday he wants no violence to come out of the situation.

Laura Cleland, a spokeswoman for the Association of Oregon Counties, said Grasty told her Briels' resignation goes before the county court - the equivalent of a county commission - for approval later this month.

Its next meeting is Jan. 20.

A public meeting for the county safety committee is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. The location of the meeting is still to be determined.

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