"Hot Shots" Arrive in Minnesota, Prepared for Wildfire Battle

By KBJR News 1

September 14, 2011 Updated Sep 14, 2011 at 10:01 PM CST

Duluth, MN (Northlands Newscenter) - Efforts to tame the Pagami Creek Wildfire has reached the national level.

The National Guard Armory in Duluth has been designated as a meeting spot for Type I and Type II Forest firefighters who have been called in from all over the nation to tame the Pagami Creek flames.

"We sent two Nevada crews to Ely yesterday. We sent a California crew this morning and a New Mexico Crew came in last night and they are all three on their way to Ely today."

Ely will be home base for these forest specialists who say they just want to help out. Shawn Judy's New Jersey crew, was waiting for a bus that would drop them off with nothing but their backpacks.

Most of the crews are getting spiked out which basically means we're going to be sent out to build camp "Spike Camps," and then we'll get our fire assignment pretty much once we get out there."

Judy's crew is a type II which will need a little more training once they arrive in Ely. Type one crews, called "The Hot Shots" have been flown in as well. They are a group of elite extinguishers who are highly trained in forest fires.

"We're anticipating a lot of water in the area. We hear it's a canoe area, remote access and remote access is something we're very good at. So wilderness areas is something we are very well versed in fighting fire in."

Staging Area Manager for Fire mobilization, Donna Hart believes the folks arriving will be a tremendous help.

"The governor has brought in the National Guard black hawk helicopters and if we can get air and ground crews in there we can hopefully get ahead of the fire and try to stop it before it spreads any farther."

These Type One Crews' work together all year, creating a strong cohesion and a common understanding of methods. They'll need all those strengths as they fight the largest forest fire in Minnesota for nearly 100 years.

The difference between Type I and Type II crews is the amount of training and maintenance qualifications.

Written for the web by Jordan Weinand
jweinand@northlandsnewscenter.com