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Oct. 18 - US Forest Service Actively Involved in California Wildfire Response

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

October 18, 2017 - Alongside its local, State and Federal partners, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service remains actively involved in response to wildfires in California. While these fires are not on National Forest System lands, the Forest Service provides additional firefighting personnel, incident management teams, and equipment resources to support the State of California and other federal agencies whose resources are challenged by the size, numbers, and severity of these fatal fires.

“The people of California are not in this alone. This is a unified effort that involves the dedication of the whole firefighting community,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke. “The Forest Service has boots on the ground and is providing other critical resources in California, as well as other parts of the American West, and we will remain as long as necessary.”

While Cal Fire is leading overall operations, as of Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017 the Forest Service has committed over 1,500 firefighters to the effort. Forest Service firefighting resources currently supporting state and local fires include: 12 Type 1 Interagency Hotshot Crews specially trained in wildfire suppression tactics; 103 Type 2 crews; 285 engines; 5 dozers; 1 water tender; 55 support vehicles; 23 fixed wing aircraft (includes air tankers, water scoopers, lead planes and air attack); and 8 helicopters (Type 1 and Type 2).

Additionally, over $6.6 million worth of supplies and equipment have so far been mobilized by agency cache warehouses for such items as: water handling equipment, hoses, nozzles, fittings, foam, folding portable water tanks, batteries, Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), etc. Additional crews, equipment and aircraft are on order.

Currently, the Forest Service also has 15 large air tankers committed, 2 DC-10 very large Air tankers, 2 C-130s with air tanker modules, 34 helicopters and 3 scooper aircraft for water drops.

Firefighters are working to keep dozens of new fires small and of shorter duration, limiting damage and reducing costs and exposure to firefighters and the public.

The public is encouraged to continue following the guidance of local officials and stay informed. Information about wildfires is available on an interagency website, Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/.

“The U.S. Forest Service has an enduring history of supporting wildfire response and we continue to work with cooperators, partners, communities and the American public to reduce the risk of wildfire in the nation.” Chief Tooke said. “Our commitment to our local, State and Federal partners in California is steadfast, and we are dedicated in our mission of caring for the land and serving people.”

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