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Central Mass Firefighters to Fight Idaho Wildfires

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Three Central Mass firefighters are heading west to battle blazes that have scorched Idaho and Montana forests.

This week, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) deployed 20 state and municipal firefighters to Idaho to help fight the Trinity Ridge Fire that has spread across more than 37,000 acres in the Boise National Forest in the last week.

Tracey Bagdasarian and Douglas Gillum of the West Boylston Fire Department are among the 11 state firefighters making the trip, and Matthew Brady of the Worcester Fire Department is one of the nine municipal firefighters headed to Idaho.

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

The DCR responded Sunday to a request for aid from the National Interagency Coordination Center in Boise, Idaho. The specially trained wild land fire crew mobilized early Monday morning out of Logan Airport. The fire, which is now known to be the result of human causes, has been burning since the afternoon of August 3rd.

Due to high temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds in the area, the fire spread quickly. The DCR Bureau of Forest Fire Control started sending crews to assist other states through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Forest Service in 1985, and have fought fires in the western and Rocky Mountain States, Alaska, Florida, Virginia and Quebec.

The fire is currently in the Mountain Home Ranger District, near the south end of the Boise National Forest. Trinity Mountain, which stands 9,700 feet, is the most well known landmark of this high-elevation area that is a home to numerous recreation activities.

The forest itself is approximately 2,612,000 acres, stretching from just north to just east of the city of Boise, Idaho.  

This DCR crew will be a "Type 2 initial attack hand crew", which will engage in direct fire suppression. The crew is expected to work for two weeks, building fire breaks, securing perimeters and protecting structures. You can find up-to-date information on the movement of the fire here.


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