The Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) has deployed a 20-person crew of wildland firefighters to assist state and federal partners with wildfire suppression efforts in Colorado.
The members of this team are trained in wildland firefighting tactics and work together to help contain wildfires by constructing a fireline with hand tools. A fireline is a strip of land cleared of flammable vegetation down to the mineral soil, creating a perimeter clear of fuel around the wildfire.
Due to the mountainous terrain and accessibility issues associated with using heavy equipment to create firelines in many areas out West, hand tool crews are frequently utilized on-the-ground to battle wildfires. While hand tool crews are still used in some parts of the state due to rough or inaccessible terrain, bulldozers and tractor-plow units are the primary tools used by wildland firefighters to contain wildfires in Mississippi.
State Forester Russell Bozeman said, “We appreciate our employees volunteering to be part of these efforts to help our state and federal partners in Colorado. Fighting the destructive power of wildfire means our wildland firefighters are working long hours in extreme conditions protecting people’s lives, homes, and forestland.”
“In addition to assisting our state and federal partners, our crew members will gain valuable experience that will make them more efficient and effective wildland firefighters when they return home,” Bozeman said. “We are proud of our employees’ dedication and service and look forward to their safe return to Mississippi.”