TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced today that the Florida Forest Service is sending a crew of 20 wildland firefighters to assist wildfire suppression efforts in northern California. Wildland firefighters are currently battling more than a dozen large wildfires in northern California, including the quickly-growing 60,000 acre Rocky Fire, west of Sacramento.
“Throughout the years, many out-of-state wildland firefighters have aided our efforts in Florida when our state has been overwhelmed by many large uncontrolled wildfires. Today’s brave Florida Forest Service wildland firefighters are proud to return the favor to help protect life, property and natural resources in California,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.
Today, the Florida Forest Service’s initial-attack hand crew will join other crews in northern California, where they will receive assignment to the highest priority wildfire. The crews will battle mountainous wildfires in northern California using hand tools like shovels, axes and rakes to manually create a fire break or fire line around the wildfire perimeter.
“Due to the extreme terrain out West, wildfires can be extremely intense and often erratic. Wildland firefighting is an inherently dangerous career, so we have equipped our firefighters with the best training possible to help them fight wildfires aggressively and safely at home and abroad.” said Jim Karels, State Forester.
Twenty-nine additional Florida Forest Service fire personnel are currently deployed and assisting in various wildland firefighting and management positions throughout the western United States.
The Florida Forest Service, a division within the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than one million acres of public forestland while protecting 26 million acres of homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire. To learn more about Florida Forest Service programs, visit FloridaForestService.com.