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DEC Sending Firefighters to CA for Wildfires


A crew of 20 wildland firefighters led by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers is traveling to California where they will assist firefighting efforts underway at the Smith River Complex fire. A Forest Ranger will serve as the crew boss during the two-week assignment for nine other Rangers and 10 of DEC’s expertly trained wildland firefighters from the Divisions of Lands and Forests, Fish and Wildlife, Pesticides, and Emergency Management.

The Smith River Complex fire burned more than 86,000 acres and is currently 21 percent contained. The fire started with a lightning strike on August 15. The New York State crew will join forces with 38 different crews from across the country. All personnel and travel expenses for the New York crews are either paid directly by the U.S. Forest Service or reimbursed to New York State based on a mutual aid agreement between states and federal land agencies.

“Whether it’s north of the border to Canada, or across the United States to California, New York always stands at the ready to assist those in need,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “While summer rains have kept New York fires at bay, the impacts from this year’s wildfire season are like none we’ve ever seen before. I commend our brave Forest Rangers for helping New York answer the call for assistance.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC Forest Rangers and other trained wildland firefighters bring a wealth of knowledge to assist our neighbors to the west. DEC’s wildland firefighters are always prepared to help, serving both on the fire line and behind the scenes as experts in incident command and we wish them a safe and successful assignment in California.”

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