COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio has again responded to the need for experienced wildfire fighting forces by sending a crew to northeastern Idaho, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' (ODNR) Division of Forestry.
Ohio's Inter-agency Fire Crew was sent late Monday to the Mustang Fire on the Salmon-Challis National Forest. The Mustang Fire is burning 28 miles west of North Fork, Idaho, near Montana.
"Ohio is sending our second well-trained crew to the west this year," said Robert Boyles, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. "Our teams gain valuable experience for wildfire suppression work at home while providing help during difficult periods of high fire occurrence in other parts of the nation."
The Ohio crew is comprised of 20 people from the ODNR Division of Forestry, Wayne National Forest, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 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 a crew from the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia on the Idaho assignment. Crews from Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey are flying west to other western wildfires to fill out the airplane departing from the mobilization center in Harrisburg, Pa.
Earlier this summer, an Ohio Inter-agency Fire Crew was on a wildfire in California. A three-person crew and wildland fire engine was assigned to Missouri, logistical help was sent to Utah and a dispatcher provided assistance for Montana wildfires. Currently, Ohio has a specialist in Montana serving as a planning section chief on an incident command team.
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