A crew of 20 firefighters, including five employees of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, left Fort Smith Wednesday to work wildfires in Oregon.
Wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington have burned over 2 million acres this year, causing hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their homes.
In addition to the five employees of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, the crew, named the "Razorback Crew," is composed of eight employees from the U.S. Forest Service, two from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, two from the National Parks Service, and three from of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The crew chief is Les Miller, a Forestry Division Ranger from Conway County.
This team of firefighters will be working as an initial attack crew that will be sent to prevent new starts to wildfires. The non-federal crew members are being contracted by the U.S. Forest Service to work in Oregon. The U.S. Forest Service will direct the crew to the areas of the state in most need of their service, a news release states.
"We are proud of the Razorback Crew members who volunteered to do hard, labor-intensive work to help safeguard the people of Oregon," Arkansas State Forester Joe Fox said in the release. "Our employees are honored to use their training and expertise to provide assistance."
Two other Arkansas Department of Agriculture Forestry Division employees have also worked on fires in California recently and have returned.