BROOKSVILLE—When Maine Forest Ranger John Cousins got the call, he clicked into action. Time to pull together everything needed to fly out to California and lead a mobilization crew of 19 rangers and civilian and non-civilian firefighters into the wilderness ablaze.
“The first thing you do is an inventory of your pack,” he said shortly after returning from nearly two weeks in Klamath National Forest, near Yreka, and Plumas National Forest to fight the 6,000 acre Walker Fire in Plumas National Forest. “And make sure all your bills are paid.”
This was the fourth time that Cousins, a Brooksville resident in his 18th year with the Maine Forest Service, suited up and showed up. Posting as crew boss with an available hand (as opposed to engine) crew since July, Cousins got the call September 8. By then, six of his crew couldn’t go, so he filled their spots on the fly, with an office mate, with a forest service laborer, and two rangers and two civilians from New Hampshire.
Civilians may not think of forest rangers as firefighters but Cousins said that is part of the job. “Maine forest rangers are statutorily responsible for the suppression of forest fires,” he explained, “and also investigation and enforcement.”
You can read upto 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log-in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE