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40 MD Firefighters Return Home Safely After Fighting California Blaze
Governor Martin O’Malley Commends Courage and Dedication of Firefighters
JARRETTSVILLE, MD — Fourteen Maryland Department of Natural Resources personnel along with 26 other Maryland firefighters with special training in wildland firefighting returned to Maryland on August 7 after two weeks of active duty on the front lines of the Iron Complex near Junction City in Northern Calif.
“Natural disasters know no state boundaries, and I am proud that Maryland is able to assist in battling the roaring fires out west in our sister states,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “I commend the brave men and women of Maryland for their dedication to humanity by serving on the dangerous front line of the fires. We are blessed to have our entire Maryland crew return home safely and our thoughts are with the firefighters and families that continue to serve and those who gave their lives while protecting the homes and forests of others.”
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.
For more information about Wildland Fire Management in Maryland, visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/forests/wfm.asp.
August 7, 2008
Contact: Kara Turner
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov