EMPORIUM – For the 40th year, the Bureau of Forestry has dispatched personnel to assist other states during wildfire emergencies, and it’s the first deployment of crews to Alaska, where mosquitoes were as big as hummingbirds and it rained every day.
Two, 20-member firefighter crews were a part of an eight-crew Eastern area module dispatched to Fairbanks, AK to help suppress an 84,000-acre fire. The next two crews were sent to Idaho, where the terrain was steep and the temperatures hot. Another crew was sent to Idaho, then Nevada and finally Oregon, so they saw three states in 14 days, stated Jeanne Wambaugh, district forester.
Again, a crew was sent and this time to California near Yosemite National Park, the home of the Giant Sequoias. The last crew was sent to Montana, the Big Sky Country where they completed their 14-day assignment on the Bitterroot National Forest, stated Wambaugh.
There were other employees that went out to assist on fires as a single resource, too. In total, 132 Pennsylvania Wildland fire crew members and 18 single resources were dispatched to assist with fire suppression, with seven employees from the Elk State Forest dispatched, some multiple times, stated Wambaugh.