Nine WMass firefighters sent to Washington to battle fires

The fire has affected nearly 900,000 acres

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Department of Conservation and Recreation sent a total of 20 wildland firefighters to Washington state to help battle fires that have been raging for the past two weeks.

According to a news release sent to 22News by the DCR, 14 DCR state firefighters and 6 municipal fire fighters from across Massachusetts were sent to Washington on July 26th. They were joined by four other crews from New Hampshire, New York, U.S Fish & Wildlife Service and the White Mountain National Forest.

The fire has been affecting nearly 900,000 acres across Oregon and Washington state. The U.S. Forest Service and the Northeastern Interagency Coordination Center sent a request to DCR Commissioner Jack Murray to send the 20 person crew to assist in battling the blaze.

The crews have bee assigned to the Chiwaukum Complex, a complex of three fires totaling 12,320 acres located just outside of Leavenworth, Washington. The DCR said the crew, which is also referred to as a “Type 2 initial attack hand crew,” will engage in direct fire suppression, working on the fire line up to 14 days; building fire breaks, securing fire perimeters, containing fires, and protecting structures.

“We are extremely proud of the DCR and municipal firefighters who have been called upon to help our friends and partners in Washington,” said Commissioner Murray. “These are extremely well-trained and dedicated firefighters whose skills are much needed, and whose help, we know, is enormously appreciated.”

Below is a list of the responding Massachusetts firefighters:               

DCR Firefighters:

  • Aaron Whiddon – Plymouth
  • Gregory Whitter – Deerfield
  • Robert Armstrong – Conway
  • William Ashton – Leominster
  • Jonathon Hallinan – Peabody
  • Jesse Hanecak – Whately
  • Benjamin Jennell – West Newbury
  • Roy Liard – Wakefield
  • David Luongo – Sandwich
  • Brian Mayer – Groton
  • Millard Ring – Rockport
  • Keith Robbins – Westhampton
  • Eric Rogers – Holyoke
  • Jon LaCasse – Lanesboro

Municipal Firefighters:

  • Jeffrey Belanger – Deerfield
  • John Branscombe – North Brookfield
  • Bruce Forgea – Windsor
  • Christel Kalweit – Sandwich
  • Max LaCasse – New Ashford
  • George Nolette – North Brookfield
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