Third Successful Ranger Deployment This Summer
Governor Kathy Hochul today welcomed home New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers who spent two weeks battling wildfires in Canada. The Rangers were joined by wildland firefighters from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The Rangers returned on Sunday, July 16, after spending 14 days in Quebec working on multiple fires.
"New Yorkers understand all too well the hazardous impact smoke from the Canadian wildfires have on daily life," Governor Hochul said. "We are fortunate to have brave individuals willing to step up to help those in need, and I thank our courageous firefighters whose efforts are critical in containing these wildfires."
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "No matter the crisis, DEC Forest Rangers are always ready to help. In this case, they spent 14 days in the middle of smoke and flames to help our neighbors and also New Yorkers suffering from poor air quality. I thank our experts in wildland firefighting and incident command for their continued dedication and sacrifice."
Crew Boss Ranger Gary Miller led seven additional Rangers as part of a 20-person wildland firefighting team assigned to the Micoua Fire Complex, which burned approximately 40,600 acres. The crew included:
David Corey - Essex and Franklin counties
Lincoln Hanno - Herkimer and Lewis counties
Howard Kreft - Ulster County
Gary Miller - Hamilton County
Joseph Pries - Dutchess and Putnam counties
Logan Quinn - Essex County
John Scott - Suffolk County
Nathan Sprague - Cattaraugus County
Throughout Canada, more than 4,000 fires have burned an estimated 23.7 million acres. On June 2, one Forest Ranger was deployed as a Crew Boss to Nova Scotia. On June 8, Governor Hochul announced that a team of seven DEC Forest Rangers was deploying to assist with efforts to help contain the wildfires in Quebec. At the same time, New York State was under an Air Quality Health Advisory due to the smoke from those wildfires that traveled across state borders and created significant air quality issues.
The State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) of Health (DOH) issue Air Quality Health Advisories when DEC meteorologists predict levels of pollution, such as ozone or smoke-induced fine particulate matter (PM2.5), are expected to exceed a federal Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100. The AQI was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale, with a higher AQI value indicating a greater health concern. The latest AQI Forecast can be viewed here.
These three missions are the first time New York State Forest Rangers have been deployed to Canada since wildfires in Quebec in 2005. In 1979, New York sent its first firefighting crew to assist western states with large wildfires. On average, one or two crews are sent as needed to assist with wildfires nearly 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.
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.