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DEC Contact: Jeff Wernick (518) 402-8000

June 02, 2023


First 2023 Deployment to Help Fight Wildland Fires with Compact Partners

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that a DEC Forest Ranger and expert wildland firefighter is being deployed to assist with efforts to contain wildfires raging in eastern Canada. New York State often deploys highly trained wildland firefighters to help battle fires as part of interstate and international firefighting compacts.


“New York State is known for providing resources to help other communities in their time of need and DEC’s Forest Rangers have a wealth of valuable experience to assist Canadian authorities in combatting wildfires," Commissioner Seggos said. "Across the region, dry weather is once again creating ideal fire conditions, and Forest Rangers and other trained wildland firefighters are ready to assist our fellow states, neighboring nations, and communities."


The DEC Forest Ranger will serve as the crew boss of an interstate Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact crew comprised of firefighters from Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine to assist efforts in Nova Scotia.


This is the first time a New York State Forest Ranger is being deployed to Canada since wildfires in Quebec in 2005. In 1979, New York sent its first firefighting crew to assist western states with large wildfires. On average, one or two crews are sent as needed to assist with wildfires nearly every year. In addition to helping contain wildfires and minimize damage, these crews gain valuable experience that can be utilized fighting wildfires and managing all-risk incidents in New York. All personnel and travel expenses for New York crew are either paid directly by the U.S. Forest Service or reimbursed to New York State based on a mutual aid agreement between states and federal agencies.

Last August, Forest Rangers led the multi-agency incident response to a wildland fire caused by a lightning strike at Minnewaska State Park. The Napanoch Point fire burned 142 acres. Rangers worked in coordination with the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, New York State Police, Ulster County, and other State and local partners. Twenty firefighters from Quebec joined the crews on the ground.


In 2021, 47 expert wildland firefighters were deployed to help battle fires in other states. In addition to firefighters from the ranks of DEC's Forest Rangers, expert firefighters from DEC's Divisions of Land and Forests, Operations, Fish and Wildlife, Materials Management, and Remediation were dispatched to fight fires out of state that year.


Due to current dry conditions in New York, the entire state is designated at a high risk for fires. A high fire danger means all fine, dead fuels ignite readily and fires start easily from most causes, including unattended brus and campfires. Fires may become serious and their control difficult unless they are attacked successfully while small. For the current fire danger map, warnings, and more information, go to: https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/68329.html


DEC issued an Air Quality Alert for ozone today, Friday, June 2, for Long Island, New York City Metro, and Western New York. DEC reviews a number of factors when making daily air quality forecasts for New York, including smoke from the Canadian wildfires. Learn more about DEC’s statewide air quality forecasts here: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/34985.html.


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