Why Md. Firefighters Are in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado (Photos)

WASHINGTON — When wildfires are raging, you can’t send just anyone to help put them out — so Maryland firefighters who know what to do have been sent to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

The MDS #1 (as in Maryland State #1) Wildland Fire Crew was deployed July 8 and might be away from home for nearly three weeks, but a colleague said they consider it a public service.

“When you talk to [firefighters] who do this — that kind of thing year-in and year-out, that’s what they’re doing it for — is because they like to help people. They like to travel and they like to help out the communities that they’re helping,” said Chris Robertson, Fire Manager with Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service.

“Their assignment will be 14 days working — that doesn’t count travel,” Robertson said.

As part of a mutual aid agreement with the USDA Forest Service, the Maryland crew deployed to Colorado with other mid-Atlantic teams from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Hampshire.

It’s prime time for wildfires in the Rocky Mountains now, Robertson said, because of conditions that include high temperatures, low relative humidities, low fuel moistures and high winds.

The MDS #1 crew is made up of firefighters from the Maryland Forest Service, Maryland Park Service, Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service along with volunteer firefighters from Washington and Caroline Counties.

Firefighters interested in joining Maryland’s Interagency Wildfire team can contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service Fire Staff in the county where they live.

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