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MEDIA AVAILABILITY: 10-person Group of Firefighters Returns Home after Fighting California Wildfires

10-person group of trained wildland firefighters will return to Connecticut tomorrow after spending the last several weeks assisting with wildfire response in northern California.

The group is expected to return to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) Eastern District Headquarters, 209 Hebron Road, Marlborough, Saturday, Sept. 26, at 12 p.m.

The group of ten firefighters consists of four full-time DEEP employees, one full-time employee from Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management, and five “administratively determined” members, private individuals who are temporary federal hires while on assignment. The group members are:

Scalora, Rich



Johnson, Jeremy



Waterman, Allan



Bryan, James



Lewis, Mark



Marcoux, Patrick



Murphy, Margo



Olenick, Alan



Rego, Paul



Wnuk, Derek


East Berlin

They left Connecticut September 4th, initially working with the Hoopa Tribe in Hoopa, California on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in northwest California, before transitioning to aid with fire response in the Red Salmon Complex in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

DEEP maintains a roster of agency staff members and personnel who have been certified to fight forest or wildfires.  Crew members must complete a rigorous training program and participate in an annual physical work capacity test and refresher training.  

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 or other natural disaster in return for the support of Connecticut personnel when needed. All state agency expenses directly associated with these deployments are 100% reimbursed to the State by the U.S. Forest Service.

This group is the second group of Connecticut Interstate Fire Crew firefighters Connecticut has sent this season- another group of ten was deployed in late July to assist with wildfire response in the Modoc National Forest area in northeastern California. Two full-time DEEP staff members were part of that group.

The group has followed USDA Forest Service COVID-19 protocols throughout its deployment, and will also follow state COVID-19 protocols upon its return to Connecticut. The group will be receiving COVID-19 testing immediately upon its return to the state Saturday morning. Therefore, the group’s arrival time is subject to differ slightly from the arrival time stated in this release. Due to COVID-19 protocols, the media will not be able to observe the group’s full demobilization procedures, but will be able to capture the group’s return to headquarters, and following the brief demobilization procedure (about 20 minutes), a few members of the group will be made available for interviews.

What: Wildfire group returns home

When: Saturday, September 26, 12 p.m.

Where: DEEP Eastern District Headquarters, 209 Hebron Road, Marlborough

Other information:

The designated parking area for Media will be immediately to the right after passing the brown house on the headquarters property. DO NOT go through the gate just beyond the parking area beside the brown house.


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DEEP Communications