The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced that a DEC Forest Ranger and expert firefighter is being deployed to assist with the efforts to contain the Bootleg Fire in the Fremont-Winema region of Oregon.

Nearly every year, New York State deploys its highly trained wildland firefighters to help battle fires in western states. This is DEC's first wildland firefighting deployment after 2020's busy fire season. The DEC Forest Ranger will join a crew of federal, state, and local fire agencies battling the Bootleg Fire in Oregon.

DEC Commissioner, Basil Seggos said:

As climate change continues to drive wildfires that threaten communities throughout the West, New York State stands ready to assist our fellow states with expertise that our firefighters then bring back home to help with future emergency responses

In 2020, DEC Forest Rangers led four 10-person wildland firefighting crews to western states to aid in the national wildfire suppression effort. Each crew consisted of a Forest Ranger crew boss, four additional Forest Rangers, and five volunteer-DEC employees with wildland firefighter training.

In addition, several Forest Rangers were deployed as Incident Command Specialists to various fires throughout the country, including the record fires in California. New York sent its first firefighting crew to assist with wildfires in western states in 1979.

On average, one or two crews have been sent as needed to assist with wildfires every year since. 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.

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