S.C. firefighters help battle fires in Western states

August 8, 2018

Wildfires are currently ravaging land in five different western states, which led the U.S. Forest Service to send out request for help from other states, including South Carolina.

The South Carolina Forestry Commission has responded to the requests by sending out 14 of its wildland firefighters to join other crews battling fires, according to a release.

The 14 SCFC personnel have either arrived or are en route to wildfires in California, Colorado, Oregon, Texas and Washington, the release states.

Their work assignments fall under a wide range of Incident Command System roles, spanning everything from firefighters, heavy equipment bosses, tractor plow operators, public information officers and resource unit leaders, among others.

All certified wildland firefighters and ICS-trained personnel, regardless of home state or agency, train to the same standards and under the same framework so that they can fall in seamlessly on any incident, according to the release.

The Forestry Commission does not release the names of any of its deployed personnel for security reasons, namely protection of their identities and those of their families.

While South Carolina’s fire season, which typically peaks between November and April, was relatively mild, the western United States is experiencing another widespread and deadly series of conflagrations – and since the western and southern fire seasons do not generally overlap, it is customary for Southern state forestry agencies to send its wildland fire personnel on western assignments when requested.

“All of our IMT personnel and all of our firefighters undergo regular training for exactly these kinds of special assignments,” said SCFC Protection Chief Darryl Jones. “Not only do they provide much-needed help, but they also bring that valuable ICS experience with them back to South Carolina.”

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