West Virginia Forestry dispatches members to fight fires in Minnesota

CHARLESTON, WV — The West Virginia Division of Forestry (WV DOF) has dispatched two crews to contain fires in Minnesota.

A crew with eight WV DOF personnel and two administratively determined (AD) employees trained for wildfire suppression left July 31 for the city of Ely in northern Minnesota. A second crew of four WV DOF personnel and six AD (non-WVDOF) employees left Aug. 10 for the city of Bemidji, approximately 150 miles southwest of Ely.

Each fire crew’s tour of duty typically lasts 14 days.

“Minnesota is experiencing drought conditions,” said Jeremy Jones, fire staff assistant, WV DOF. “Hot, dry conditions make it all too easy for a small fire to develop into a big blaze. Our crews have been dispatched to help contain and suppress the fires.”

State fire crew members are trained in firefighting and to meet National Wildfire Coordinating Group standards.

Although West Virginia is not in a drought, some parts of the state are abnormally dry.

“Fire season does not officially start until October, but we need to follow fire safety practices at all times,” said Jones.

Fire safety guidelines, available on the WV DOF website, include:

  • All fires must be surrounded by a safety ring or strip.
  • The safety strip itself must be cleared of burnable material and be at least 10 feet wide, fully encompassing the debris pile.
  • Fire must be attended until completely extinguished.

West Virginia Forestry dispatches members to fight fires in Minnesota

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