COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry is helping battle wildfires to the west by sending more fire-firefighting crews across the country. Engines staffed with Ohio firefighters are fighting flames in Minnesota and California.
“Ohio firefighters are well trained to deal with the chaotic situations that are happening to our west,” said Greg Guess, wildfire supervisor for the Ohio Division of Forestry. “With their expertise and other agency partnerships, we are able to help people and property stay safe in dangerous situations.”
The need in Minnesota is historic, as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was closed to recreation uses for the first time since 1976. In addition to Minnesota, Ohio crews have recently been battling fires outside of Glacier National Park in Montana and in California’s Six Rivers National Forest. Throughout the spring and summer, the Division of Forestry has provided fire engines and firefighters to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Montana, and California. Other ODNR wildland firefighters have also assisted and returned from various states as support staff. These firefighters served in dispatch units, provided advanced fire leadership, and worked in logistics support roles.
Crews are composed of firefighters from the Division of Forestry, the Division of Wildlife, local fire departments, national parks and forests, and cooperating state agencies. Crews and support staff are normally assigned for two weeks but could be extended depending on the situation. The Division of Forestry will continue to support national wildfire suppression efforts throughout the summer by providing more engines, crews, and qualified individuals when they are needed.
Here in Ohio, the Division of Forestry trains federal, state, and local agencies in safe and effective wildland fire suppression, manages prescribed fires for forest regeneration, and provides wildfire suppression assistance to other states as part of the national effort to keep communities safe.
Ohio crews and individual management personnel have assisted with hurricanes, floods, and wildfire incidents since 1986.
The Ohio Division of Forestry promotes the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands, visit Forestry.ohiodnr.gov. Follow us on Facebook @odnrforestry and on Instagram @odnrforestry (instagram.com/odnrforestry).
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.