ANNAPOLIS (June 10, 2011) The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently sent a second engine and two more highly specialized Forest Service firefighters to join Maryland firefighters currently battling wildfires in Georgia, and another group of 20 firefighters to fight continuous fires in New Mexico.
Now spanning 160,000 acres, the fire at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southern Georgia has been upgraded to a Type 1 incident. In May, DNR deployed an initial contingent of firefighters and one engine to this location to fight 94,000 acres of active fire. Now, two 150-200 gallon capacity Type 6 engines and four Maryland DNR Forest Service firefighters are helping to fight the fires.
The firefighters sent to assist with fires in Georgia are doing well; there have been no issues with them or the engine, said Maryland Fire Supervisor Monte Mitchell. They will continue to assist fire response units as safely and efficiently as possible.
New Mexico has experienced an outbreak of wildfires, depleting the areas local resources. Maryland firefighters are currently in pre-position at a local mobilization center in Albuquerque and are prepared to be sent out to any fires that erupt in the region.
Through a Cooperative Agreement with the USDA Forest Service, DNRs Forest Service provides trained firefighting experts to assist with the efforts to contain and control some of the largest wildfires in the nation. Maryland staff has participated in mobilizing wildland firefighters for dispatch throughout the United States since 1974. For more information on DNRs Interagency Wildland Fire Mobilization, visit www.dnr.state.md.us/forests/fire/mdfire.asp.