For the second time in a week, volunteer firefighters from Pennsylvania have answered the call to battle wildfires raging in two Western states, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced Friday.
Late Thursday, 40 men and women, comprised of Bureau of Forestry employees and local municipal fire company members, were flown from Harrisburg to Missoula, Montana, where they are being deployed nearby to fight the rapidly spreading Roaring Lion Fire.
“This is the second call up of our folks in just a week,” Dunn said. “These crews follow in the wake of 40 volunteers leaving last Friday for Wyoming, where they are assigned to wildfires in that state. In total, we have more than 60 volunteers fighting fires in those two states.”
Dunn said volunteers are from central, north central, and northeast Pennsylvania. They are volunteer fire companies members and Bureau of Forestry staffers.
Last year, six 20-person crews and almost as many individuals were assigned to fight fires in seven states. Pennsylvania over the years has provided both crews and highly specialized individuals to wildfires in many Eastern states and every state west of the Mississippi.
“Because of their training and organization, Pennsylvania’s volunteer wildfire fighters continue to get the call when the going gets rough with forest and brush fires across the country,” Dunn said. “They know how to work as a team in the face of impending disasters. There is a strong underlying ‘You help me, I’ll help you,’ approach to this cooperative effort.
“Whenever we face a major wildfire in Pennsylvania, we know help is just a phone call away.”
Most assignments involve firefighters traveling as part of a 20-person crew; All volunteers from Pennsylvania have received intensive training at a Bureau of Forestry training camp that dates back 27 years.
The three-day camp duplicates real-life firefighting experiences found across the nation;
Over the years, the state Bureau of Forestry has seen its people regularly receive high reviews for their training, attitude and knowledge.
“After training and their out-of-state assignments, these Pennsylvania firefighters bring home more than the satisfaction of giving 100 percent,” Dunn said. “They bring back first-hand knowledge to help them fight large fires in our woodlands here at home.”
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