TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Forest Service (FFS) announced the deployment of a 20-person Type 2 initial attack hand crew to Montana to support wildfire operations due to the elevated activity. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, more than 16,000 wildland firefighters and support personnel are currently combating at least 68 major wildfires burning over one million acres across 12 states.
“It is heartbreaking to see our neighbors to the west suffering through record heat waves and major wildfires impacting a dozen states. Know that Florida is here to help, deploying our wildland firefighters and personnel who are exceptionally well-trained and fully prepared to support suppression efforts,” said Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. “I am truly grateful for their selfless commitment to help protect our fellow Americans. May they have a successful mission and a return home safely after helping our western neighbors in need.”
“As record weather conditions intensify, we’re going to do all that we can to help our western counterparts,” said Erin Albury, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone working tirelessly to protect residents and their homes as well as our country’s natural resources.”
In addition to the 20-person hand crew headed to Montana, the Florida Forest Service currently has 71 wildland firefighters and support personnel deployed to Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming to assist with suppression efforts on numerous wildfires, which includes the 20-person hand crew deployed to California just ahead of the Fourth of July.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres.
–Florida Forest Service