State DNR Employees Contain Wildfires in Alaska and Canada


LANSING — Fourteen Michigan Department of Natural Resources employees, who are trained as firefighters, are helping to contain wildfires in Alaska and Canada. 

“Cooperative efforts between counties, states, and countries are crucial during emergency situations,” says Bill O’Neill, chief of the DNR Forest Resources Division. “The experience our highly trained staff receives when they are on out-of-state assignments is an asset when they are fighting wildfires here at home.” 

Nationally, there are nine large uncontained fires, with 163 new fires that started Tuesday. Three four-man crews have been dispatched to Manitoba, Canada, to assist with its ongoing efforts, and two DNR employees are serving in leadership roles on the Tanana area fires in Alaska. They will continue to provide assistance to the national fire efforts while conditions remain critical.

The Michigan DNR received fire-suppression assistance from other states, federal agencies, and the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact during the 2007 18,000-acre Sleeper Lake fire and three years ago on the 21,000-acre Duck Lake fire in Luce County.