Vallejo, CA – The USDA Forest Service (USFS) is mobilizing 100 wildland firefighters from across Mexico to assist with wildfire suppression efforts in California. Traveling from their homes throughout 22 states in Mexico, the crews will assemble in Guadalajara to board a chartered flight directly into California.
The Mexican firefighters, along with agency representatives, will arrive on Wednesday, September 23, 2020. After a welcome ceremony on Wednesday afternoon, they will receive an orientation and participate in fire shelter deployment and other refresher training over the next couple of days. Once the orientation is complete, the crews will take ground transportation to their fire assignment on the Castle Fire within the Sequoia Complex of fires on the Sequoia National Forest. The Sequoia Complex (#SQFComplex), is made up of the Castle and Shotgun fires. The lightning-caused fires were reported on August 24, 2020.
Since 1962, the USFS shares a long history of cooperation with Mexico in the area of fire management. The USFS has provided training to and assisted Mexico with strengthening capacity in fire management beginning in 1983. The Forest Service brings its extensive skill in fire planning, capacity building and research and its practical application to fire issues.
Eduardo Cruz, the current director of CONAFOR (National Forestry Commission of Mexico), spent two seasons as a helitack firefighter on the Sequoia National Forest early in his career as part of the training and exchange program. “I am very excited for this unique opportunity to visit a station I worked and trained at as a young man and to bring with me firefighters from Mexico to aid in the California firefighting effort”.
In 1989, the USFS sent fire management specialists to assist Mexico in the disastrous fire season that occurred in the State of Quintana Roo. This year Firefighters from Mexico will return the favor.
Currently, 23 large wildfires are burning across California and 8,300 wildfires have burned over 2.5 million acres in the state this year. Firefighters from both Canada and Mexico and the U.S. military are now deployed to incidents around the state during this period of peak fire activity.