Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced today that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Forest Service will deploy an additional 20 wildland firefighters as an Initial Attack Hand Crew to help battle a 247,000-acre wildfire in Northwest Oklahoma. The Incident Management Team of 28 wildland firefighters that deployed to Oklahoma last week has been reassigned to assist with this fire as well.
“Our wildland firefighters are part of the national firefighting community and integral to the wildfire suppression efforts in Oklahoma,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “We are committed to protecting lives, homes and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire both at home and across the country.”
The Initial Attack Hand Crew will assist with front-line firefighting for Oklahoma’s Rhea Fire burning 247,000 acres. They will use specialized hand tools to manually create a fire break or fire line around wildfire perimeter to contain the boundaries of the wildfire.
“Thanks to Florida’s currently lowered wildfire danger levels, we are able to continue to provide resources for our Oklahoma partners in need,” said Florida Forest Service Director and State Forester Jim Karels.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres.