MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources expanded its support to fire suppression efforts in other states this week with mobilization of a strike team including 17 firefighters and five engines to western Montana.
During the past week, the pace of activity has increased significantly due to continued dry weather in the northwest U.S. DNR now has 30 staff members assigned to fires in California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
Firefighting personnel and equipment provided earlier this summer to Alaska, Oregon, Washington Michigan and the province of Manitoba have returned home to Wisconsin. DNR personnel have assisted with a total of 29 different out-of-state wildfires this year.
“DNR is proud to be able to provide staff and expertise to cooperative fire suppression efforts now underway in the western U.S.,” said Trent Marty, DNR forest protection bureau director. “Other states have provided significant support to us here in Wisconsin, notably during the Germann Road fire in 2013, and this shared approach helps all agencies make efficient use of resources. The additional training and experience DNR staff members gain at out-of-state fires increases our ability to deploy effectively here in Wisconsin.”
The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group, which is composed of top federal and state fire managers, increased the national preparedness level this week to planning level – 5, the highest level. This determination recognizes the increased fire activity across several geographic areas and the major commitment needed from the military, including the National Guard and active duty military, as well as other countries including Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Wisconsin supplies firefighting resources nationally through a wildland fire suppression agreement with the USDA-Forest Service. The agreement provides for full reimbursement of all assistance provided by Wisconsin, including personnel, travel and equipment costs.
To learn more about Wisconsin’s forest fire program, visit DNR.wi.gov and search “forest fire protection.”