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For Release: Friday, August 31, 2012

DEC Forest Rangers & Employees Return From Fighting Montana Wildfires

Crew Spent Two Weeks Battling Polson Montana Wildfires

Crew Members Available to Talk to Media Today at 4:15 pm

The 20-person New York State wildland firefighting crew will begin to return home today after helping combat wildfires in Montana, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The crew includes four DEC Forest Rangers, 13 DEC employees and three DEC volunteers.

Several members of the crew will be available to talk to reporters today at 4:15 p.m. at Albany International Airport.

"I applaud the courage of DEC's firefighting team that spent the past two weeks battling the raging forest fires in Montana," said Commissioner Martens. "This work serves as a great example of how states can work together and share resources during times of adversity."

The firefighters were dispatched through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. This agreement allows for the sharing and dispatching of firefighters throughout the country.

The crew departed from DEC's Saratoga Fire Cache on August 16 to Polson, MT where the crew spent 14 days fighting fire on one or more wildfires. Upon arrival the crew was assigned to the 9,863-acre West Garceau Fire located in Polson, MT and later assigned to the 585-acre Elevation Mountain Fire in Greenough, MT.

All crew members are expected to land at Albany International Airport today, with the first arrivals scheduled for 4:15 pm. Media wishing to speak to crew members should proceed to the upstairs passenger welcome area.

Forest Rangers and wildland firefighters dispatched to Montana include:

  • Forest Ranger David Kallen, Northville, Fulton County, Crew Boss
  • Forest Ranger John Scanlon, Lowville, Lewis County, Squad Boss
  • Forest Ranger William Giraud, Cuyler, Cortland County, Squad Boss
  • Forest Ranger Michael Thompson, Stony Brook, Suffolk County, Firefighter
  • Jon Cole, DEC Volunteer, Houghton, Alleghany County, Firefighter
  • Paul Giachetti, DEC Minerals, Olean, Cattaraugus County, Firefighter
  • Christopher Sprague, DEC Lands and Forests, Norwich, Chenango County, Firefighter
  • Steven Brown, DEC Operations, Downsville, Delaware County, Sawyer
  • Matthew Vincent, DEC Volunteer, Jay, Essex County, Firefighter
  • Joseph Pries, DEC Operations, Levittown, Nassau County, Sawyer
  • Eric Kasza, DEC Lands and Forests, Ballston Spa, Saratoga County, Sawyer
  • Mark Solan, DEC Materials Management, Schuylerville, Saratoga County, Firefighter
  • Joshua Utberg, DEC Remediation, Glenville, Schenectady County, Firefighter
  • James Canevari, DEC Lands and Forests Canton, St. Lawrence County, Firefighter
  • Aaron Graves, DEC Lands and Forests, Potsdam, St. Lawrence, Firefighter
  • Lawrence Day Jr., DEC Fire Warden, Hammondsport, Steuben County, Squad Boss
  • Theresa Copa, DEC Public Affairs Huntington, Suffolk County, Firefighter
  • Stephanie Larkin, DEC Fish and Wildlife, Northport, Suffolk County, EMTB
  • Jacob Powell, DEC Volunteer, Newark, Wayne County, Firefighter
  • Douglas Velte, DEC Fire Warden, Newark, Wayne County, Firefighter
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