Monday, August 29, 2016
Two Westport firefighters are among a 20-person Connecticut interstate fire crew helping fight ongoing wildfires in Idaho.
Assistant Chiefs Rob Yost and Michael Kronick left Saturday, joining crews from Florida, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania who arrived in Boise, Idaho on Sunday afternoon, said Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury.
The Connecticut crew is currently assigned to the Black Fire in the Black Canyon drainage on the Palisades Ranger District in Idaho, he said.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Black Fire was detected on Aug. 19 and is believed to have been caused by lightning. It currently covers 280 acres and is centered 10 miles southwest of Swan Valley, Idaho. The Forest Service said 61 firefighters are involved in firefighting efforts there.
Kronick has been deployed to the western United States several times, most recently to northern California in 2015, Kingsbury said. This is Yost’s first deployment.
Firefighters use vacation and their own time off while deployed on these assignments, Kingsbury said.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection maintains a roster of personnel from local fire departments who are certified to fight wildfires, which in turn allows Connecticut to participate in a reciprocal aid program operated by the U.S. Forest Service, he said.
Kingsbury and Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe said in a joint statement: “We are very grateful that Westport has the capacity to lend a hand in fighting these devastating fires.
“We wish our crews, and all the brave crews involved in these dangerous efforts, a safe and speedy return.”
Posted 08/29/16 at 08:40 PM Permalink