NEW YORK (WWTI) — An additional forest ranger from New York was deployed this week to assist in controlling wildfires out west.
This was announced by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos on Wednesday. This Forest Ranger will travel to California for a two-week assignment to the Dixie Fire in Quincy.
According to the DEC, the Dixie Fire is the second largest wildfire in California history. It has burned 500,000 acres to-date and destroyed at least 400 structures and threatens thousands of others. Nearly 6,000 firefighters from across the country are battling this blaze, which remains only 21% contained.
This is the third forest ranger New York has sent to a western state in 2021. On August 11, the DEC welcomed home Forest Ranger Michael Burkholder following a two-week assignment fighting the Alder Creek and Trail Creek fires in Montana. In July, DEC Forest Ranger Timothy Carpenter returned home after assisting with the Bootleg Fire in Oregon.
Commissioner Seggos added that these wildland fires in western states are not only devastating the western portion of the country, but they are impacting air quality on the east coast. On July 20, the entire state of New York was under an Air Quality Advisory due to fine particulate matter caused by fires in Canada and the Western U.S.
New York has sent firefighters to assist in western states since 1979. On average, one or two crews are sent every year. In addition to helping contain wildfires and minimize damage, these crews gain valuable experience that can be utilized fighting wildfires and managing all-risk incidents in New York.
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. This is based on a mutual aid agreement between states and federal land agencies.