Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that a crew of 20 employees and volunteers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation left Sunday for California to help crews there deal with the devastating wildfires.
The volunteers and DEC staff, including many State Forest Rangers, will join California crews and be assigned where they are most needed. The New York team is expected to support California's firefighting efforts for two weeks.
All travel and administrative costs for the crew will be paid directly by the U.S. Forest Service or reimbursed to the State.
New York first sent a firefighting crew to assist western states in fighting large wildfires in 1979, and, on average, Cuomo said that one or two crews are sent to assist each year. Officials say that in addition to helping contain the western wildfires and minimize damage, these crews also gain valuable experience that can be utilized fighting wildfires in New York.