The Georgia Forestry Commission dispatched another group of wildland firefighters to help contain raging fires in the western United States.
The latest cadre from Georgia traveled last month to the Summit Trail Fire near Inchelium, WA., where they were assigned to various duties and posts in surrounding areas.
“Georgia is extremely grateful to the brave men and women of the Georgia Forestry Commission for sharing their time and expertise,” said Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. “Many states have come to our aid in times of emergency, and it’s a privilege to be able to return the favor,” he said.
Since June, 60 GFC personnel have responded to wildfire incidents in other states. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are 108 large fires currently burning across the U.S. More than 25,200 wildland firefighters and overhead support are committed to these incidents.
Georgia Forestry Commission personnel are highly skilled and well trained to meet required needs of wildfire response. Agency staff that responds to incidents, including firefighters and overhead support, must complete required training and educational courses throughout the year to maintain their qualifications. Firefighters are held to rigorous fitness standards, ensuring they can work 16-hour days in adverse conditions while hiking through rugged terrain. Many Georgia crew members have served multiple assignments in previous years, gathering valuable experience they apply away and at home.
“Georgia has been receiving a good amount of rain, which has lowered our fire danger statewide,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Director Tim Lowrimore. “That makes it possible for us to share personnel and resources with other states in times of need.”
Due to significant wildfire activity in multiple locations, the National Preparedness Level was raised to Level 5 in mid-July by the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group. Preparedness Levels are dictated by vegetative fuel, weather conditions, wildfire activity and fire suppression resource availability. Level 5 is the highest level on the fire activity scale, and July 14 is the earliest in the year it’s been raised to 5 in a decade.
To track national wildfire news, visit https://www.nifc.gov/fire-information/nfn.
For more information about the Georgia Forestry Commission’s wildland firefighters and other services of the GFC, go to GaTrees.org.