NEW YORK (WWTI) — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is continuing to send help to the western states as they struggle to keep the wildfires under control.
The Bootleg Fire started on July 6 and has burned over 400,000 acres. The fire has been difficult to control due to sustained winds and low humidity. The fire has already destroyed more than 200 buildings which forced the evacuation of about 2,000 people. The combined efforts of more than 2,000 federal, state, and local fire agencies have the fire approximately 52% contained.
New York State Forest Ranger Timothy Carpenter from Steuben County was a part of the effort. Ranger Carpenter returned on July 26 after fighting the Bootleg Fire raging in Oregon for two weeks.
New York State DEC announced on July 27 that another DEC officer Forest Ranger has been deployed to Montana to assist in fighting the Alder Creek Fire. The second Forest Ranger has also been deployed for a two-week assignment.
The Alder Creek Fire has already burned almost 6,000 acres of land. The fire is now considered the nation’s highest wildland firefighting priority because of its proximity to hundreds of homes and buildings.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said the work the rangers do is commendable.
“Our team of wildland firefighting experts are some of the best in the country. I commend them for their bravery and willingness to support ongoing efforts to contain these devastating wildfires,” Seggos said. “DEC’s Forest Rangers never hesitate to lend a helping hand no matter where they’re needed. I thank them for their service and courageous efforts.”
New York sent its first firefighting crew to assist western states with large wildfires in 1979. Since then one or two crews on average have been sent as needed every year. The experience allows crews gain valuable knowledge that can be utilized while fighting wildfires and managing all-risk incidents in New York.