Sequoia National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
1839 S. Newcomb St
Porterville, CA 93257
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 press is invited to a formal presentation and welcome event upon their arrival at the San Bernardino International Airport - a media advisory will be sent separately with details.
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 one 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".
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.
A media event will be held tomorrow, September 23, 2020, at the San Bernardino International Airport Terminal to welcome firefighters from Mexico coming to help battle California fires.
The plane will land at approximately 1:45 p.m. (opportunity for b-roll as firefighters and dignitaries de-plane). The formal event will begin at 2:30 p.m., once customs has been cleared. Individual interviews with officials will be accommodated both before and after the formal program.
Address: San Bernardino International Airport- Luxivair SBD
295 N Leland Norton Way, San Bernardino, CA 92408
RSVP: Julissa Gonzalez c: 805-680-4559, firstname.lastname@example.org
Officials that will be speaking/present:
National Forestry Commission of Mexico (CONAFOR)
• Ramón Silva Flores, deputy chief of Conservation and Restoration for CONAFOR; • Eduardo Cruz Castañeda, national fire management director of CONAFOR; • Taryn Sánchez Montesinos, CONAFOR International Affairs Officer; and • Several firefighters and crew bosses of the 100 that are coming from Mexico.
USDA Forest Service (USFS)
• Anthony Scardina, deputy regional forester of the Pacific Southwest Region, USFS; • Kim Christensen, deputy assistant director of operations, USFS; and • Brian Rhodes, deputy director for Fire and Aviation Management of the Pacific Southwest Region, USFS.