Maine Forest Rangers, Firefighters Help Combat Fatal Wildfires in California
It may be hot and sweaty in Maine, but on the other side of the country, flames engulf vast areas of California. It's far too much, too fast for the golden state's firefighters and forest rangers to control alone, so several states have sent help through a nationwide reciprocity agreement.
Four forest rangers and four firefighters from Maine flew out to lend a hand in preventing further damage by the Carr Fire, despite its being the deadliest of the 18 wildfires spreading in California. According to the Press Herald, the Carr Fire has scorched more than 170,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 homes in two counties. The blaze also has killed six people, including two firefighters.
“They are telling me that it is very, very dangerous,” Maine Regional Forest Ranger Jeffrey Currier said. “We were quite selective in who we sent.”
Over 400 fire engines (including two sent from Maine) and 5,000 fire personnel are on the Carr Fire. They camp every night in a racetrack-turned-tent village and focus on clearing underbrush and trimming back tree limbs by day.
“The fire itself does have a sound to it,” Maine Forest Ranger Wesley Hatch said. “You can hear it roaring or moving as it’s coming closer. We’ve been watching it.”
With low humidity and temperatures in the 90s and above, the firefighters are up against a lot, and the fires rage on. They are making progress on it though, and Hatch said nearly 50% had been contained by Wednesday morning. The team will have fought the blaze in California for two weeks before being replaced by another team from Maine.
“We can’t put it all out, but we’re here to do our part,” Hatch said.