Source: US State of Ohio
Headline: Ohio Crew Called for Georgia Wildfire Assistance
COLUMBUS, OH – An Ohio wildfire crew consisting of six people and one wildfire engine from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) departed Saturday to travel to Georgia, where they were dispatched to the West Mims Fire in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) near Kingsland, Georgia, to help fight the wildfire.
“Ohio is again responding to the call for assistance with a national emergency, this time in Georgia,” said Robert Boyles, Ohio’s state forester. “Our crew and engine are well-prepared for initial attack, structure protection and other special assignments to protect life, property and natural resources under very challenging circumstances.”
Rapid rates of fire spread, wind direction changes and hazard trees are challenging suppression efforts, although moist weather early in the week has helped firefighters. However, the weather conditions at the end of this week are hot and dry, which may cause the fire to pick back up and start running again. The cause of the West Mims wildfire was reported as lightning/natural, and the fire is more than 152,000 acres in size. Although mostly in the Okefenokee NWR, the fire also affects private residences. Numerous evacuations are in place, and some structures have already been lost. The perimeter of the fire was 40 percent contained as of Thursday. The fire is being attacked with engines, tractor plows and aircraft. When the swamp burns, it usually burns for a long time. The estimated controlled date of this fire is Nov. 1.
The ODNR Division of Forestry trains ODNR, federal and private natural resource agencies, as well as fire department personnel from across the state, for inter-agency wildland fire detail and emergencies to protect life and property in Ohio; manage prescribed fire for forest regeneration; and to provide assistance to other states as part of the national effort.
Ohio crews and individual management personnel have assisted with hurricanes, floods and wildfire incidents since 1986. Crews and overhead staff are normally dispatched out-of-state for two-week assignments. Travel and wage costs are reimbursed by requesting agencies. Last year, Ohio’s engine crew responded to southern wildfire assignments in Tennessee, Alabama and North Carolina.
The ODNR Division of Forestry also coordinates agreements and wildfire training, prevention, suppression and enforcement with 325 fire departments in the southern and eastern part of the state and around Maumee State Forest in the state’s northwest corner.
The ODNR Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands and the fire management program, visit forestry.ohiodnr.gov.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all.