California’s wildfires are snagging all the headlines.
But other states face fires too.
They need help. And — just as the rest of the country sends aid when we’re battered by hurricanes or blizzards — Connecticut firefighters have headed west.
Deputy Chief Michael Kronick joined 18 other members of the CT Interstate Fire Crew. They traveled last month to Colorado, where thousands of acres burned in the Buttermilk and Green Mountain Fires.
Kronick returned home last night.
Deputy Fire Chief Michael Kronick, in Colorado.
Connecticut participates in a reciprocal aid program operated by the US Forest Service. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection maintains a roster of staff and personnel from local fire departments who are certified to fight wildfires.
Kronick — a member of the Connecticut Interstate Fire Crew since 2002 — has been deployed on 11 wildfires throughout North America. He’s a great representative of Westport’s superb Fire Department.
Westport — and Colorado — salute Deputy Fire Chief Michael Kronick!
If you’re like many Connecticut residents, when you hear of wildfires in the West you think, “What a shame.”
Then — if you’re like me — you move on to news of the next catastrophe.
Michael Kronick and Robert Yost are doing more. Much more.
The pair — members of the Westport Fire Department — are actually fighting those fires.
They’re part of a 20-member Connecticut crew that’s battling the Black Fire in Idaho.
This is Yost’s 1st volunteer effort. Kronick, meanwhile, has served in the Western US several times, most recently last year in Northern California.
And that’s the key: It’s all volunteer. Westport’s firefighters are using their own vacation and time off to help save land and homes — and risking their own lives to do so.
Alert “06880” reader Steve Axthelm think that’s crazy.
“These 2 men are very courageous and generous,” he says.
“But don’t you think we as a town and community ought to sponsor them — at least in part — so they don’t have to use vacation or personal time to help out there? Wouldn’t it be a fair and appropriate contribution to the needs of our fellow Americans?”
It would indeed. If you’ve got an idea of how to make that happen, click “Comments” below.
Michael Kronick and Robert Yost are doing plenty. Helping them is the least we can do.
It’s not often that tiny Connecticut can help huge California.
But the Golden State has its hands full with massive wildfires. A 20-person fire crew from here is heading there. Among the firefighters is Westport assistant chief Michael Kronick.
Kronick — a certified wildfire fighter — has helped before. In 2013 he was deployed to Quebec; before that, he was sent to other fires out west.
Connecticut’s Interstate Fire Crew is part of a reciprocal aid program operated by the US Forest Service.
Thankfully, wildfires are not a big problem here. But every state has its own weather and environmental issues. It’s good to know that when we need help, other states will have our backs. Just like — thanks to people like Michael Kronick — we now have theirs.
Assistant fire chief Michael Kronick.