31 employees of the Michigan DNR, who are trained as firefighters, are helping to contain wildfires in Oregon, California, Washington and Idaho.

A hand crew comprised of 20 DNR employees was sent to Medford, Oregon, and assigned as an initial attack force tasked with suppressing a 20-acre fire burning in rugged terrain. Another 11 are carrying out essential fire-line leadership positions assigned to numerous wildfires in the northwest.

“Our staff has been highly trained to handle situations like this and are ready to go whenever and wherever they’re needed,” said Bill O’Neill, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “Cooperative efforts between counties, states and countries are crucial during emergency situations.”

The Michigan DNR received fire assistance from other states and federal agencies in 2007 on the 18,000-acre Sleeper Lake Fire and two years ago on the 21,000-acre Duck Lake Fire.

When sent on out-of-state assignments, the DNR is fully reimbursed for all costs associated with the support.