Governor Hochul Welcomes Home New York State Firefighters from Combatting California and Oregon Wildfires
New York (STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul today welcomed home the final four New York State wildland firefighters, all of whom are Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers, after completing their two-week assignments fighting wildfires in California and Oregon. These firefighters’ missions wrap up a fire season during which New York firefighters traveled to four states to battle seven wildfires burning nearly 1.7 million acres of land.
“Climate change has led to a summer of destructive wildfires that are still tearing through communities all across the country,” Governor Hochul said. “New York’s brave wildland firefighters are always ready to help protect people and property no matter how dangerous the situation, and I am so thankful for their efforts to make a difference among seemingly insurmountable odds. As New York’s teams are back home safe and sound, we continue to send our support and prayers to all those still on the wildfires’ front lines.”
The latest firefighters to return home are from the ranks of DEC’s Forest Rangers. Ranger Bryan Gallagher from Suffolk County served as a Facility Unit Leader at the Dixie Fire in California. Ranger Charles Kabrehl from Warren County also served at the Dixie Fire as a Task Force Leader. Ranger Joseph Hess from Saratoga County was deployed to work as a Receiving Distribution Manager at the Windy Fire in California, and Ranger Jeremy Oldroyd from Chenango County was a Task Force Leader at the Rough Patch Complex Fire in Oregon.
A total of 47 expert wildland firefighters were deployed by Governor Hochul this year to help battle fires in other states. In addition to firefighters from the ranks of DEC’s Forest Rangers, expert firefighters from DEC’s Divisions of Land and Forests, Operations, Fish and Wildlife, Materials Management, and Remediation were dispatched to fight fires out of state. Earlier this month, the Governor celebrated the return of a crew of wildland firefighters deployed to the KNP Complex Fire in California. Last month, the Governor welcomed home a crew of wildland firefighters who returned home from the Greenwood Fire in Minnesota, in addition to Forest Ranger Robbi Mecus, who helped battle the Dixie Fire in California. In August, Forest Ranger Michael Burkholder returned from fighting the Alder Creek and Trail Creek fires in Montana. In July, Ranger Timothy Carpenter returned home after being deployed to the Bootleg Fire in Oregon.