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NMI firefighters to be deployed to California

FIFTEEN individuals from the CNMI will help fight the raging wildfires in California.

The CNMI Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services was notified on July 26 that U.S. Foreign Service-Region 5 has exhausted its resources and is requesting personnel from the Northern Marianas. Region 5 is Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.

Acting CNMI fire chief Jesse Mesa said the 15-man crew that will be deployed to California consists of eight firefighters and seven civilians.

They will be in California for the next 30-40 days to assist in fighting the forest fires, Mesa added.

He said they will be led by firefighters who have “experienced being out there.”

According to Mesa, civilians are included on the team to make sure that an adequate number of firefighters will remain in the CNMI.

He said those being deployed to California are all from Saipan except for one Rota civilian.

The selection process prioritized civilians — the local fire department then filled out the extra slots, Mesa said.

All the civilians are trained and certified in brush and wildland firefighting.

All costs associated with the deployment, including wages, will be covered by the U.S. Forest Service.

On Tuesday, the 15 members of the team met with Gov. Ralph Torres at his office.

Torres said he is proud of the group for representing the CNMI in the ongoing efforts to contain and extinguish the wildfires in California.

“We will be praying for their safety,” he added. “At the same time I want to thank all of them for their bravery and willingness to assist those that are in need of help.”

The civilian crewmembers are Shelwyn Taisacan, Marlon Garde, Lucio Kalen, Martin Pangelinan, Devin Deleon Guerrero, Johnathan Kapileo, and Joshua Muna.

The DFEMS personnel are Jun Kaipat, Paul Acebedo, Ralph Magofna, Joseph Lifoifoi, Jamal Mresbang, Abraham Quitugua, Albert Aldan, and Argenon Flores.

In April 2017, DFEMS in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service conducted its annual Type II handcrew training for fighting brush and wildland fires.

DFEMS said 26 individuals participated in the training, and 15 firefighters and 11 civilians were certified.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/97377-nmi-firefighters-to-be-deployed-to-california

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