The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has sent over a dozen firefighters to California, Oregon, Washington and elsewhere to battle wildfires - and gain valuable firefighting experience.
The DNR says, "Assistance agreements go both ways. If a significant fire occurs in Michigan, firefighters from other states and Canadian provinces can be tapped for help. Michigan’s largest recent fire was the Duck Lake blaze in the eastern Upper Peninsula, which burned more than 21,000 acres in 2012."
Since the beginning of the year, Michigan has sent firefighters to California, Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
The Carr fire in northern California has burned more than 100,000 acres to date, taking six lives. Fire officials there put out a national request last week for wildland fire engines from across the nation, and a three-man crew took a Michigan truck from the DNR’s Gladwin unit to California.
The DNR always keeps enough firefighters in the state to respond to any fires that might occur, though fire activity has slowed after recent rains in the northern portion of the state.
The DNR also is fully reimbursed for the cost of sending firefighters to assist elsewhere.