More than a dozen South Carolina forestry firefighters are heading out to battle several different major wildfires in four western states.
The South Carolina Forestry Commission announced Monday that 13 employees will help fight fires in California, Idaho, Texas, and Washington. Six SC firefighters recently returned from two weeks in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near Redding, California. The potential danger of the jobs were apparent last week, when three Washington firefighters were killed and another critically injured after a wildfire overran their wrecked vehicle.
Eight personnel were deployed to Texas, three to Idaho and one each to California and Washington in roles ranging from wildland firefighter and heavy equipment boss to public information officer and planning section chief.
“Wildland firefighters from around the country are called to help on out-of-state assignments whenever large fires overwhelm local and even regional resources,” said SCFC Duty Officer Brad Bramlett. “It’s dirty, dangerous and exhausting work, but they are trained for it. And we’re happy to send help when we can because you never know when we may need out-of-state assistance. Always being prepared and ready to go is just part of the job.”
The employees are working under a cooperative agreement the state agency has with three federal firefighting agencies: the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.