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AMES – As wildfires start to rage in parts of the west, 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 34 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.
Wildfires are starting to spread across the desert southwest and parts of California and Texas. Several resources from the Missouri dispatch center have been deployed to New Mexico to a large wildfire.
“The national wildland fire season seems to get earlier and earlier each year,” explains Ryan Schlater, fire specialist, with the Iowa DNR’s Fire Program. “We used to talk about a national wildland fire season starting in mid-July and going into early September. We now refer to them as fire years, with Iowa firefighters being deployed as early as May and as late as December to fires and other all risk, natural disasters.”
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.