Albany, NY – A crew of 20 employees and volunteers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will be assisting in the containment of devastating wildfires. The volunteers and DEC staff, including many State Forest Rangers, will join California crews and be assigned where they are most needed. Earlier this year, DEC sent 33 firefighters, including two, 20-person crews, to help contain wildfires in Montana.
“New Yorkers help our neighbors in their time of need, and we’re proud to send these brave men and women to help battle these California wildfires,” Governor Cuomo said. “These individuals represent the very best of New York, and I look forward to their safe return.”
The New York team is expected to support California’s 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, on average, one or two crews are sent to assist each year. 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, “The work of DEC’s wildfire-fighting crew is a prime example of how states can work together and share resources during times of adversity. I wish our crew a safe and successful trip to California and will welcome these brave men and women home with gratitude for their courageous work.”