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Contact: Jackie Skaggs, 307.739.3393
June 21, 2011
Sixty-four firefighters from the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park, along with essential firefighting equipment, have responded to support wildfire response in the Southwest and southern United States. Teton area firefighters are available to assist firefighting efforts on large-scale fires across the country because local conditions in Wyoming remain exceptionally green after a prolonged winter and a wet, cool spring.
Currently, four Teton Interagency Fire engines with crews and one Sublette County fire engine and crew are on assignments in Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas. One engine just returned after a two-week assignment on the Wallow Fire in Arizona. Fire engines from Kemmerer and Moose are waiting for fire assignments, and a Teton Interagency contract helicopter left Monday with a crew of six for the Pacheco Fire in New Mexico. In addition, a 20-person hand crew mobilized Sunday for the Wallow Fire in Arizona.
An additional 16 people from Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park are on fire assignments, primarily in supervisory roles.
The total number of Teton Interagency Fire personnel supporting fires in other states stands at 64.
"Out-of-area resources often help us when we are experiencing a busy fire season in the greater Jackson Hole area and other parts of Wyoming, so it's good that we can return the favor," said Chip Collins, fire management officer with Grand Teton National Park. "When the 20-person Teton crew goes out to a fire, we are able to get folks from other program areas on assignment. It's a great opportunity for people to get important fire experience."
Teton Interagency Fire began sending resources to Texas and the Southwest in April. Fire assignments typically last 14 days, with additional travel days factored in. Firefighters are dispatched through a national resource ordering system, and trained using National Wildfire Coordinating Group standards. Rigorous physical fitness standards are also required.