News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Firefighters Battling California Wildfires

Annapolis, MD — A 20-member crew assembled by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forest Service is currently fighting a large, fast moving fire on the Los Padres National Forest in southern California, a fire which has so far burned 86,811 acres. The crew – comprised of firefighters from all over Maryland – is one of 15 crews mobilized from the Northeast.

“Maryland’s firefighters once again are demonstrating their dedication to protecting citizens and our natural resources – whether in Maryland or any other state – in times of distress,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “I am proud that others can count on Maryland for assistance and commend the selfless and brave actions of this crew.”

The crew, which departed on the morning of Friday, August 14, was originally assigned to the Big Pole fire 12 miles west of Grantsville, UT. The crew worked for two days on the fireline and then transferred to the La Brea fire, located 21 miles east of Santa Maria, CA.

More than 2,000 firefighters are working on the fire, which as of this writing, is 64 percent contained. Local authorities have reported that the fire originated from an illegal marijuana camp.

The crew has been assisting with a little of everything; handling fireline construction, structure protection, assisting in burnout operations and much more. Structures remain threatened and evacuations are currently in effect.

“This Maryland team includes DNR staff from across the department,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. "They are specially trained to fight these dangerous wildfires and are selfless in their commitment to assisting other states in times of need.”

The Maryland crew left from the Black Hill Ranger Station in North East, Md., and departed with other crews from the Harrisburg International Airport. The crew consists of 10 members of the Maryland Forest Service, one member of the Wildlife and Heritage Service, one member of the Maryland Natural Resources Police, one member of the Resource Conservation and Development Board, two members of the Maryland Department of Agriculture and five members of Maryland Fire Department. The crew is expected to return this weekend.

For more information about Wildland Fire Management in Maryland, visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/forests/wfm.asp.


   August 18, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 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