Hundreds of forest fire fighters from several states continue to battle major wildfires out west. About 200 Missourians have been part of those fights.
The National Interagency Fire Center in Idaho fields requests for help from states with fires beyond their own capability to control. The national center then contacts regional centers closest to the burning areas first. By the time the call gets to Missouri, the resources closest to the fires have been pretty well exhausted.
The Missouri-Iowa Coordinating Center is headquartered in Rolla. It puts together fire crews from conservation departments, national forest service areas, and other organizations. Mark Twain Forest Fire Management Officer Jody Eberly, who is stationed at the center in Rolla, says Missouri crews have been involved in a lot of fires this summer, including the big Yosemite fire that’s still burning. She says about fifty Mark Twain personnel are still involved in fights.
Mike Hoffman, a fire officer with the state conservation department, says six 20-person crews form Missouri have gone out west. Two crews remain on the fire lines.
Eberly says crews have been sent to nine states and some are still in California, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon.
Crews usually are on-site for a couple of weeks before coming home. Hoffman and Eberly report nobody from Missouri has been hurt, although there have been reports of blistered feet poison ivy outbreaks, and a few sprains.