COLUMBUS - Ohio and other eastern states are now mobilized to help battle wildfires in the west, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' (ODNR) Division of Forestry. Ohio's Inter-agency Fire Crew was sent early Friday to the Flat Fire on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in northern California.
"Ohio has participated in several out-of-state emergency assignments to help fight and manage wildfires," said Robert Boyles, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. "Regional resources can be stretched thin during busy fire seasons, and Ohio is ready to assist with our experienced crews and specialists as needed."
The Ohio crew is comprised of 19 people from the ODNR Division of Forestry, Wayne National Forest, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and community fire departments. The Ohio firefighters are trained and annually re-qualified by the Division of Forestry.
The Ohio crew joins two Pennsylvania crews and crews from Maine and New Hampshire for this assignment.
Earlier this summer, Ohio sent a three-person crew and wildfire pumper to Missouri, logistical help to Utah in the form of an equipment-receiving and distribution manager along with a helicopter base manager. Currently we have a dispatcher helping manage wildfires in Montana.
ODNR's Division of Forestry coordinates agreements and wildfire training, prevention, suppression and enforcement with 325 fire departments in the southern and eastern part of the state and around Maumee State Forest in the state's northwest corner.
The Division of Forestry trains ODNR, federal and private natural resource agencies, as well as fire department personnel from across the state, for inter-agency wildland fire detail and emergencies to protect life and property in Ohio. They also manage prescribed fire for forest regeneration and provide assistance to other states as part of the national effort.
Ohio crews and individual management personnel have assisted with wildfires, hurricanes and flood incidents since 1986. Crews and overhead staff are normally dispatched out-of-state for two week assignments. Travel and wage costs are reimbursed by federal agencies.
ODNR's Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio's public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio's woodlands and the fire management program, visit www.ohiodnr.com/forestry