A very long siege of wildfire activity, which shows no signs of coming to an end, is taking its toll on firefighting resources in Texas and Oklahoma. Hundreds of thousands of acres have burned, homes have been lost and there have been several injuries and fatalities over the last several weeks.
Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) Chief of Operations Ed Zimmer said, “Our friends in the Southwest are on their second month of ongoing, significant fire activity and need some help.” He and the VDOF Chief of Emergency Response John Miller agreed that Virginia could do just that.
John Miller said, “The recent rains could not have come at a better time as this will allow us to help our neighbors to the Southwest.” The Virginia Department of Forestry realizes that their number-one responsibility is protecting Virginia citizens and resources; but agreements are also in place that allow for sharing state resources for incident management and wildfire control
Nine highly trained and qualified agency personnel were dispatched to Texas and Oklahoma Sunday. Their expertise includes incident management, heavy equipment operation and direct wildland firefighting experience. Today the agency is sending an additional two brush trucks with four experienced personnel. Finally, a fourteenth VDOF employee is assisting with a fire investigation in Oklahoma. Agency personnel are typically deployed for 14 days, and all of the related agency expenses will be reimbursed by the receiving state.