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Cuomo dispatches New York firefighting crew to assist with Rocky Mountain wildfires

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Wed, Aug 26th 2020 07:35 pm

Team of NYS DEC wildland firefighters to support multi-state efforts to fight high-priority wildfires for 2 weeks

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a crew of 10 wildland firefighters from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is traveling to the Rocky Mountains to assist in efforts to contain high-priority wildfires in the region. The trained wildland firefighters include a DEC forest ranger crew boss and nine firefighters from the ranks of forest rangers and other DEC programs. The New York crew will receive their assignment once they arrive and join firefighting crews from other states.

"Neighbors help neighbors and just as other states have helped New York during its darkest hours, we are here to lend a hand in their time of need," Cuomo said. "I thank these brave men and women for stepping up and showing just what ‘New York Tough’ really means."

The New York crew is expected to support firefighting efforts for two weeks in one of the following western states – California, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska or Kansas. In addition to helping contain the western wildfires and minimize damage, these crews also gain valuable experience that can be utilized fighting wildfires in New York.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "DEC's wildland firefighters protect our communities and vital habitat across the state. And for more than 40 years, New York has stood ready to assist other states during manmade and natural disasters. I commend our firefighters and wish for their safe and speedy return."

In 1979, New York sent its first firefighting crew to assist western states with large wildfires. 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.

All personnel and travel expenses for the New York crews are either paid directly by the U.S. Forest Service or reimbursed to New York state based on a mutual aid agreement between states and federal land agencies.

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