DNR helping battle fires out west

DNR helping battle fires out west

LANSING — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has sent 17 firefighters to help battle wildfires in California, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon.

The firefighters serve in various capacities as part of incident management teams, including fire-line management, public information responsibilities, and heavy equipment bosses and operators.

Seven of the 17 firefighters are from Upper Peninsula DNR offices, while the remaining 10 are from offices in lower Michigan. Six of these employees are manning two fire engines, which were sent from Michigan to Montana Tuesday.

“Cooperative efforts are key to protecting people, property and resources statewide as well as nationally,” said Paul Kollmeyer, DNR resource protection section manager. “We are proud that our firefighters have the necessary skills to assist with emergency situations in other states.”

Kollmeyer said that while DNR firefighters are providing assistance out west, Michigan remains staffed in the event an incident should start here at home.

Because of Michigan’s national cooperative agreement, the DNR received fire-suppression assistance from other states, federal agencies and the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact during critical incidents.

Last month, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources sent firefighters to help Michigan DNR and local volunteer fire departments battle the County Road 601 fire that blackened 80 acres in Marquette County.

Earlier in July, 14 firefighters from the Michigan DNR were sent to Alaska and Manitoba to help aid fire suppression efforts.

The DNR will continue to provide assistance to the national fire efforts while fire conditions remain critical. When sent on out-of-state assignments, the state of Michigan is fully reimbursed for all costs associated with the support.

So far this year, the DNR has provided suppression on 318 wildfires in Michigan, which burned 2,873 acres.

(Information Courtesy of the DNR)