FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Two 20-person interagency fire crews made up of Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF), Division of Mine Permits, and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), personnel left Tuesday for the hurricane stricken areas of Texas.
Although KDF firefighters are best known for their wildland fire suppression skills, they also have experience responding to all types of hazards and emergency scenarios, including the aftermath of hurricanes and severe storms.
The KDF employees will primarily operate as chainsaw crews, clearing debris from streets and right-of-ways. However, they also could assist at emergency supply distribution centers or perform other duties as needs arise.
Clearing roads is an essential element in relief efforts, said James Wright, KDF Director. This allows power companies access to their lines and expedites the delivery of critically needed materials and supplies.
Kentucky is able to send aid as part of the Master Cooperative Wildland Fire Management Agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. In addition to improving efficiency in addressing wildland fire, this agreement improves coordination when there is a natural disaster.
The KDF, USFS, and the Kentucky Interagency Center have been working closely this summer to support fire suppression efforts in the Western part of the country and find themselves again working together to make possible this hurricane relief effort.