Florida Forest Service Firefighters Heading to Battle Blazes in Western States


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — On the heels of one of the most active wildfire seasons in years, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced today that 41 wildland firefighters from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Forest Service are leaving this Saturday to assist wildfire suppression efforts in Western states.

“After battling more than 2,500 wildfires in Florida this year, Florida Forest Service firefighters are ready to help other states with their fires,” said Commissioner Putnam. “It is a priority for our department to help our partners defend life and property from the devastating effects of wildfire.”

On Saturday, the two crews of 41 Florida Forest Service firefighters will fly to Salt Lake City, Utah alongside three additional crews from Puerto Rico and Georgia. Upon arrival in Utah, the crews will receive fire assignments throughout the Western states based on priority and fire activity.

“Due to the extreme terrain out west, wildfires can be very intense,” said Jim Karels, State Forester. “Nevertheless, our Florida Forest Service wildland firefighters are prepared for exactly this. Their first-class training and experience battling wildfires in Florida will help them fight these fires aggressively and safely.”

Five additional Florida Forest Service fire personnel are currently assisting in various positions throughout Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Montana.

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.