Two DEC employees from St. Lawrence County are part of a 20-member New York firefighting crew returning from Montana after helping fight wildfires of nearly 11,000 acres for two weeks.
James Canevari, a sawyer with DEC Lands & Forests, and Aaron Graves, a DEC Lands & Forests firefighter, were reported to be on their way home after being transported back east to Manchester, New Hampshire last night. The crew rested overnight before boarding buses for their return home this morning.
The DEC crew helped in the containment of the Lolo Creek Complex wildfires outside Missoula, Montana for the past two weeks.
The team joined crews from other states in battling the wildfires, which had grown from 3,000 acres to more than 8,500 acres over three days and threatened 1,200 houses.
When the New York team arrived there were roughly 80 firefighters and support personnel assigned to the fire, but that number rose to more than 500 as the wildfires spread.
The New York team assisted in creating control lines to contain the wildfires, clear materials from the path of the fires and protect residences. During their time, the crew worked in rough terrain and endured daily temperatures that approached 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
All personnel and travel expenses of the New York crew are either paid directly by the U.S. Forest Service or are reimbursed to New York based on a mutual aid agreement between states and federal land agencies, according to the NY DEC.