40 Md. Firefighters Return Home Safely After Fighting Calif. Blaze

JARRETTSVILLE, Md. (Aug. 7, 2008) — Fourteen Maryland Department of Natural Resources personnel, along with 26 other Maryland firefighters with special training in wildland firefighting, returned to Maryland on Thursday after two weeks of active duty on the front lines of the Iron Complex near Junction City in Northern California.

The two 20-person crews departed on July 21, equipped with protective equipment and gear packs. The firefighters live or work in the following counties: Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Washington and Wicomico.

“We were honored to serve and make a difference on such an active fire that threatens the landscape and livelihood of Californians,” said Monte Mitchell, State Fire Supervisor, upon his arrival at the Madonna Ranger Station this morning. “We are very happy to be home safely and reunited with our families.”

While firefighting crews are often dispersed to various assignments, the entire crew from Maryland worked together on the Cedar Fire within the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. While serving on the line, crew members took part in various duties including guarding the fire line, griding the area and monitoring hot spots. When “mopping up,” the firefighters use a combination of an ax and a hoe to dig and control the burning materials.

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