Boise, Idaho — The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho has requested additional fire personnel and equipment from Canada and the U.S. Military to assist with wildfire suppression efforts in California and Oregon, along with five crews totaling 100 firefighters and four agency representatives from Guadalajara, Mexico.
“We continue to experience above-normal fire activity in California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and other states,” says Ken Schmid, Bureau of Land Management Fire Operations. “Thankfully, our Department of Defense and international partners are able to support us in this time of need, as wildfire activity will likely carry on for the foreseeable future, particularly in California.”
The crews from Mexico are flying directly to San Bernardino, California from Guadalajara, Mexico where they will go through orientation and fire shelter training. After a one-night rest, the crews will mobilize to work on the Sequoia Complex (SQF Complex) in California.
Fire suppression resources from multiple Canadian provinces totaling 291 fire specialists were also deployed to western wildfires last weekend. The Canadians supplied five agency representatives, eight helicopter managers, three heavy equipment bosses, 24 task force leaders, 15 division supervisors, nine type 1 handcrews, and 18 fire engines – all highly requested fire suppression resources.
One handcrew is currently serving on the North Complex in California. The remaining Canadian fire personnel gathered in Redmond, Oregon on September 18 and 19 for orientation and fire shelter training before deploying to fires in the Pacific Northwest on Saturday. An additional seven crews will be traveling from British Columbia, Canada Friday, September 25, to Quincy, California, where they will receive briefing and fire shelter training before departing to assist on the North Complex fires in California.
The first deployment of three Canadian crews who worked on the North Complex in California completed their assignments and flew back to Quebec on September 16.
An additional 200 active duty Marines and Sailors are also assisting with wildfire suppression efforts in Southern California. The Marine unit, the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, from Camp Pendleton, California, received wildland firefighting training before assisting with response efforts on the Creek Fire in the Sierra National Forest.
This is the second mobilization of military personnel to support wildland firefighting response efforts in the state this month. The 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, continues to provide support at the August Complex in the Mendocino National Forest in Northern California.
Currently, 85 large wildfires are burning across the western U.S. and more than 7 million acres have burned nationally this year. Above normal fire activity is occurring across California, Oregon, Washington and other western states.
For over 35 years, the United States has maintained arrangements for efficient resource sharing during peak fire activity with both Canada and Mexico. The U.S. military has also been a key wildland firefighting partner for decades, providing aircraft and personnel to serve as wildland firefighters.
Since 1987, active duty military personnel have been mobilized to serve as wildland firefighters a total of 38 times. In addition to the U.S. Army activation, four military C-130s equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) are currently serving as airtankers, providing wildfire support in California.
For more information on international and military assistance for wildfire support, visit: https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_main.html .
The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), located in Boise, Idaho, is the nation’s support center for wildland firefighting. Eight different agencies and organizations are part of NIFC including, the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Weather Service, U.S. Fire Administration, and the National Association of State Foresters.