Canada — A firefighting crew from the state Department of Environmental Protection is leaving Tuesday to help fight forest fires that have been burning out of control in Canada for several weeks.
Governor M. Jodi Rell announced today that the crew is headed north in response to a request from the Province of Quebec.
According to the press release, 13 DEP staff members will join crews from several Canadian provinces and from Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire to help extinguish fires near the village of La Tuque, which is about 100 miles northwest of Quebec City.
The firefighters will be strengthening established firelines and working on containing any new fires. The Connecticut crews will be deployed for up to 14 days.
The DEP firefighters will be bused early Tuesday morning from the DEPs Eastern District Headquarters in Marlborough to Manchester, N.H., where they will meet other firefighters from New Hampshire and then board a charter jet being provided by the government of Quebec.
Connecticut is a charter member of the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact. The compact, formed in 1949, is a mutual aid organization between the New England states, New York and four eastern Canadian provinces. Members of the compact train together, and their equipment standards and capabilities are interchangeable.
Connecticut maintains this firefighting capability to participate in a reciprocal aid program operated by the U.S. Forest Service. Under this program, trained personnel from other parts of the nation are available to assist Connecticut in the event of a fire emergency in return for personnel from this state being available to assist elsewhere. A response to a Northeast Compact request falls under different laws and agreements, so only DEP staff can respond.