Team of 20 Department of Environmental Conservation Experts to Support Multi-State Efforts to Fight High Priority Wildfires for Two Weeks
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a crew of 20 wildland firefighters from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is traveling to California to assist in efforts to contain high priority wildfires. The trained, expert firefighters, from the ranks of DEC's Forest Rangers and other DEC programs, will receive their assignment once they arrive in California and join crews from other states.
"No matter the crisis, New York State will always step up to help our fellow states during difficult times, and today we are sending a firefighting team to California to help combat wildfires," Governor Cuomo said. "I am proud of these 20 dedicated individuals who represent the very best of our great state, and on behalf of all New Yorkers I thank them for their service."
The New York team is expected to support firefighting efforts for two weeks. All travel and administrative costs for the crew will be paid directly by the U.S. Forest Service or reimbursed to the State. New York first sent a firefighting crew to assist western states in fighting large wildfires in 1979 and has periodically continued to do so over the years. In addition to helping contain the western wildfires and minimize damage, these crews also gain valuable experience that can be utilized fighting wildfires in New York.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "DEC's firefighting teams protect our citizens and vital habitat across the state, and the knowledge and skills they learn when they fight western wildfires are valuable resources to have. For 40 years, New York has stood ready and willing to assist other states in their time of need. I commend our firefighters for their efforts and wish for their safe and speedy return."
Recently New York State sent specialized crews to assist states with other emergency missions, including this week's deployment of 34 water rescue personnel from the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control and DEC to assist in the response to Hurricane Dorian. With hurricane impacts being less than anticipated in the region, all members of the crew returned to New York this week.