Maryland Dispatches Firefighters To Battle California Wildfire

9-member team of specialists left BWI Airport early Friday

ANNAPOLIS (June 27, 2008) — Nine Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) personnel with special training in wildland firefighting were dispatched today to a federal park near Redding, Calif., where a timber and brush fire is threatening communication towers and power lines and could consume park cabins and historic buildings.

“California’s wildfire season is off to an unusually early start after enduring its driest spring in 114 years,” noted Maryland Forest Service Director Steve Koehn. “Firefighters have been battling hundreds of fires across the state after a series of lightning strikes this past weekend.”

The team consists of four members of the Maryland Forest Service, three members of the Wildlife and Heritage Service, one member of the Maryland Park Service, and one member of the Maryland Conservation Corps. All are certified wildland firefighters.

Maryland’s team departed from the Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport about 7:30 a.m. Friday, equipped with their personal protective equipment and gear packs. They’ll spend 14 days on the line fighting a timber and brush fire in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, 12 miles west of Redding, Calif.

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