Virginia firefighters are now joining the fight to help battle a fire in the Western United States. On July 21, 22 full- and part-time employees left for Oregon. The firefighters will work as part of a wildfire hand crew and incident managers that will operate out of a mobile command post.
Large, complex wildfires require more personnel than most states possess to successfully protect the lives and property of Americans through suppression efforts. Mutual aid is a vital component in the realm of firefighting. During the last nine years, Virginia wildland firefighters have helped with suppression efforts in Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and California. In 2012, firefighters from 23 states were in Virginia battling seven large wildfires that occurred during Easter week.
“While wildfires do occur in Virginia during summer months, the frequency and intensity are far lower than they are in the spring and fall,” said John Miller, Virginia Department of Forestry’s Director (VDOF)of Resource Protection.“ As long as we can ensure the safety of Virginia’s citizenry, we will respond to calls for mutual aid.
The scarcity of firefighting resources across the nation necessitates our support, and our employees put their lives on the line every day in their mission to protect the lives of others.” VDOF’s wildland firefighting crew is expected to be deployed for 16 days.