COLUMBUS, OH - A 20-person Ohio fire crew is scheduled to return home Friday, after fighting the Toolbox complex of fires on the Fremont National Forest near Paisley, Oregon for two weeks, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The crew is made up of six employees from the ODNR Division of Forestry, two from the ODNR Division of Parks, two from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and four from the Wayne National Forest as well as six community firefighters and private foresters. Their work assignments ranged from laying hose lines, patrolling fire lines and extinguishing hot spots.
This is an active fire season for the Western states, said John Dorka, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. We are glad we are able to send personnel to help the U.S. Forest Service get these fires under control. The Ohio fire crewmembers have trained for these types of situations and now they are putting their knowledge into action. Ohio gains from the hands-on experience too, as our firefighters will use the lessons and techniques learned out west to help suppress the 900 to 1,000 fires Ohio experiences each spring and fall.
The Toolbox complex of fires has consumed more than 87,000 acres since it started July 12 from a lightning strike. Local authorities say the fire is now 75 percent contained and estimate full containment around August 7. In addition to helping to protect the forest resources, this fire was threatening power transmission lines that feed northern California.
More than 3.8 million acres of forest and brush land have burned in the United States so far this year. Typically the worst of the fire season doesnt occur until August, so the U.S. Forest Service and cooperating states are bracing for more blazes.
Another Ohio crew has been in Idaho since July 25 and is moving to Oregon to continue the suppression efforts on this same fire.
For Further Information Contact:
Bill Schultz, ODNR Division of Forestry
Andy Ware, ODNR Media Relations