Thirty-nine crew members will join firefighting efforts for two weeks
Help is on the way. In the wake of destructive wildfires tearing through the west, Virginia is offering assistance. On Monday, the Virginia Department of Forestry announced 39 crew members have been deployed to combat fires across the western United States.
Personnel will join those from the National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the USDA Forest Service is snuffing the flames and helping support management efforts. The agency says assignments will last two weeks in total.
“Virginia is fortunate to have employees at the Virginia Department of Forestry who have both the ability and expertise necessary to provide professional assistance to agencies in the West responsible for fire control efforts,” Virginia's Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring said in an official statement.
Fifteen states are currently being ravaged by wildfires, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, which reports the destruction of 2.3 million acres of land by over 100 wildfires. Affected states include Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and California, whose Dixie Fire has become one of the state's largest-recorded fires in history. Almost 900,000 acres have burned since it started last month. As of Monday, only 22-percent of the total flames have been contained.
While firefighters will endure "adverse weather conditions" during their assignment, Ring says their "ability and expertise" make them well-equipped to handle the blazes. “Conditions are very physically demanding, but these are some of Virginia’s most experienced wildland firefighters. Their extensive training makes Virginia a leader in efforts to support other states in times of critical need," she said.
Additionally, VDOF's director of fire and emergency response, John Miller, also notes their capability in handling emergencies lends preparedness in the case of natural disasters occurring in the Commonwealth.
Have you been following the wildfires happening around the country? What do you think of VDOF's decision? Sound off in the comments.