GOVERNOR CUOMO DEPLOYS THIRD DEC FIREFIGHTING CREW TO AID WESTERN STATES BATTLING WILDLAND FIRES

State Welcomes Home Team of New York Wildland Firefighters from Colorado

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a third DEC crew is traveling to the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center in Denver, where they will be assigned to assist firefighting efforts underway in western states and that two additional DEC Forest Rangers are being deployed to fight wildland fires in California. The Governor also welcomed home the State’s second team of 10 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers, staff, and volunteers who have been helping battle and contain wildland fires raging in western states for the past two weeks. These trained, expert firefighters helped battle the Cameron Peak Fire near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. Governor Cuomo also welcomed home three additional DEC Forest Rangers who assisted wildland firefighting efforts in California and Oregon.

“We’ve all seen the devastation these wildfires have had on thousands of families out west who have lost everything,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m proud that these brave New Yorkers stepped up and traveled to the front lines to help suppress these fires before more homes and lives are lost. These brave men and women are the very definition of New York Tough.”

The returning crew of firefighters began their assignment on Sept. 12, and returned to the Capital Region this week. The crew includes a DEC Forest Ranger crew boss and nine firefighters from the ranks of Forest Rangers and other DEC programs.

The returning New York crew joined federal, state, and local fire agencies battling the Cameron Peak Fire in Colorado, which is about 20 percent contained. They were tasked with securing control lines. In addition, three DEC Forest Rangers assisted in fighting fires in California and Oregon. One Ranger was assigned to the Fork Fire burning in California’s El Dorado National Forest. Another Ranger helped fight flames in the Valley Fire in rural eastern San Diego County, and the third served as Task Force Leader for operations related to the Slater Fire in Oregon.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York State has a rich tradition of helping sister states in need when disasters strike. Several western states are still struggling to get the upper hand on fast-moving fires scorching hundreds of thousands of acres of land and ripping through communities. As we welcome home New York’s second crew of DEC wildland firefighters, I’m proud to announce a third crew heading west to join the firefight and help prevent more pain and devastation.”

The third crew of New York State firefighters headed to the Rocky Mountains will be deployed for two weeks. 

 

The returning crew of New York Forest Rangers, staff, and volunteers are:

  • Chris DiCintio, Forest Ranger, Crew Boss, Franklin County
  • Shay Faulkner, DEC Division of Operations, Allegany County
  • Nathan Hudson, DEC Division of Lands & Forests, Cortland County
  • Charles Kabrehl, Forest Ranger, Warren County
  • Daniel Kinsley, DEC Division of Solid Waste and Hazardous Materials, Onondaga County
  • Chester Lunt, Forest Ranger, Onondaga County
  • Robert Mackenzie, DEC Division of Lands & Forests, Dutchess County
  • Robbi Mecus, Forest Ranger, Essex and Franklin counties
  • Melissa Milano, Forest Ranger, Hamilton County
  • Peter Morehouse, Forest Ranger, St. Lawrence County
  • Logan Quinn, Forest Ranger, Essex County
  • Robert Rogers, Forest Ranger, Cattaraugus
  • Daniel Welc, DEC Division of Lands & Forests, Chenango County

In 1979, New York sent its first firefighting crew to assist western states with large wildfires. On average, one or two crews have been sent as needed to assist with wildfires every year since. In addition to helping contain wildfires and minimize damage, these crews gain valuable experience that can be utilized fighting wildfires and managing all-risk incidents in New York.

All personnel and travel expenses for the New York crews are either paid directly by the U.S. Forest Service or reimbursed to New York State based on a mutual aid agreement between states and federal land agencies.