August 10, 2005
OHIO FIRE CREWS HEAD WEST TO HELP FIGHT WILDFIRES
COLUMBUS, OH - Two Ohio wildfire crews were dispatched this week to help fire wildfires at Superior National Forest in Minnesota and Kootenai National Forest in Montana. The crews will be constructing firelines and extinguishing smaller fires in an effort to protect the forest and the homes in the area.
The first 20-member crew left Sunday for Minnesota and includes six foresters with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), two Wayne National Forest employees, one National Park Service employee, two Hocking College students, and nine individuals from the Ohio Fire Service. The Superior National Forest is located in the northeast corner of Minnesota. By Monday, the wildfire, called the “Alpine Lake fire,” had engulfed nearly 700 acres of the 3.9 million acre forest.
A second 20-member crew left this morning for Montana and includes eight ODNR foresters, three with Wayne National Forest, two National Park Service employees, and seven individuals from the Ohio Fire Service. The Kootenai National Forest is located in the extreme Northwest corner of Montana and Northeast Idaho and encompasses more than 2 million acres. By Monday, the fire, called the “Camp 32 fire,” had burned 900 acres.
ODNR’s Division of Forestry participates in a national cooperative effort with the federal government and the National Association of State Foresters in providing mutual assistance to combat the nation’s wildfires. Ohio wildfire fighters also gain hands-on experience to use in suppressing Ohio wildfires. The federal government reimburses all personnel costs and other expenses.
Approximately 1,000 fires burn more than 5,000 acres annually in Ohio. Many of these fires occur during the spring and fall season. If the relatively dry conditions continue here in Ohio, there is potential for a severe fall fire season. Ohio’s fall fire season begins October 1.