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Iowa DNR Fire Program gearing up for national wildfires

  • 5/23/2023 1:38:00 PM
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AMES – While wildland fire season hasn’t been active yet, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fire Program has been busy getting firefighters from Iowa ready to be dispatched to wildfires across the country. 

The Iowa DNR Fire Program recently completed financial and qualification paperwork for 35 firefighters from Iowa for the U.S. Forest Service Administratively Determined Casual/Emergency Hire Firefighter program. These firefighters can be dispatched through the Missouri Iowa Coordination Center, out of Rolla, Mo., to wildfires and other national incidents like hurricanes, floods and tornadoes.     

Some wildfires were occurring in Oklahoma and Florida, but the western wildfire season looks to be a late start. 

“The 2023 national wildland fire season looks to be less active than in past years,” explains Ryan Schlater, fire specialist, with the Iowa DNR’s Fire Program. “With large amounts of snow and rain in western states, the fire season will likely be later in the year for the 2023 season.”

Predictive services is forecasting a less active fire season for June and July.  August and September look to be more active.

“If the 2023 fire season is wetter and less active, more growth of vegetation can dry out later for larger fire seasons in the future,” Schlater said. 

The Iowa DNR Fire Program sends out firefighters on 20 person hand crews, type 3 and 6 fire engines, and as single resource positions such as Emergency Medical Technicians. The program has been sending wildland firefighters to national incidents since 2006.         

For more information, contact Ryan Schlater at 515-233-8067 or visit the Iowa DNR Fire Program webpage at www.iowadnr.gov/Conservation/Forestry/Fire-Management.

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