CHARLESTON, WV — Today, a crew dispatched by the West Virginia Division of Forestry (WV DOF) to contain fires in northern California has returned to West Virginia.
A crew with 11 WV DOF personnel and nine administratively determined (AD) employees trained for wildfire suppression left on August 11. The crew assisted the Northern California GACC (Geographic Area Coordinating Center) around Willows, California, in the Mendocino National Forest. They responded to the Kennedy Fire, a new start caused by an automobile accident. The Kennedy Fire was controlled quickly and only burned approximately 25 acres. The crew was reassigned to the Six Rivers Lightning Complex near Willow Creek, CA. This fire is 27,000+ acres and has an 80% containment.
Other members of the WVDOF have been assigned as single resources to the Four Corners fire on the Payette National Forest in Idaho. One forester is a dispatcher in Grangeville Interagency Dispatch Center in Grangeville, ID.
“Remember, even though we are still in summer, many areas of the state are dry due to lack of rain. Other areas have seen more rain than they wished,” said Jeremy Jones, Assistant State Forester-Fire, WV DOF. “The bottom line is that outdoor fires can be fun and a part of summer, but always be mindful and ensure they are completely out before leaving them.”
State fire crew members are trained in firefighting to meet National Wildfire Coordinating Group standards.
“Fire season does not officially start until October, but we must 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 must be cleared of burnable material and be at least 10 feet wide, fully encompassing the debris pile.
- Fires must be attended until completely extinguished.
# # #