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Grants Could Help Local Companies Fight Wildfires

(Source: Jason Weinstein)

It's the job of forest rangers like Jeremy Oldroyd to keep land like the acreage here at Chenango State Park safe. But when wildfire strikes it's the job of local companies, many rural and mostly volunteer to initially tackle the blaze. Those companies can now apply to the state for $1,000 grants to get special equipment specific to fighting wildfire blazes.

"The Nomex clothing is light clothing where the turnout gear fire departments normally use really isn't useful when we're fighting wild land fire because it's heavy," said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Ranger Jeremy Oldroyd.

"Structural firefighting gear just isn't fit for wild land fire. It's just too big, bulky," said Broome County Fire Coordinator Brett Chellis.
Not only is the equipment different fighting wildfires, but also the tactics.

"Some of the tactics we use are going to be dependent on each fire but generally we try to get the flanks first and corral it, get another point on the side so it doesn't get around us and then try to work ourselves to the head of the fire where the fire's most active," said Oldroyd.

Whether they be in woods or open fields many of the wildfires in Broome County can consume two to five acres before being contained. The peak seasons are in the Spring and fall between when the leaves fall and the first snowfall.

"Although not every season is active when we do get one there would be a lot of risk to firefighters if they're not geared properly," said Chellis.

****In Broome County, Jason Weinstein, FOX 40 News****

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