Phoenix 3 team on alert

Published 10:35 pm Monday, July 15, 2013

A team of wildland firefighters from the National Civilian Community Corps, an AmeriCorps program, is stationed at the Great Dismal Swamp and on standby for deployment to wildfires out west.

With the wildfire season heating up in the western United States and an unseasonably large number of fires already burning, Phoenix 3, a wildfire suppression team, is ready to head out west at a moment’s notice.

With wildfires burning in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, the firefighting community is on alert at a preparedness level of 3 out of 5. At level 3 and above, eastern fire crews are typically deployed out west to fight blazes.

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“AmeriCorps NCCC has always provided us with a reliable team of firefighters for fire suppression crews going out west,” said Steve Hubner, forester with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Fire Management at the Great Dismal Swamp. “They are always motivated and energized, which creates strong crew cohesion.”

While waiting for potential deployment, Phoenix 3 will provide assistance to the fire management team at the Great Dismal Swamp with any fires that occur. In addition, Phoenix 3 will perform community service for local non-profit organizations, such as the Virginia Zoo and The Nature Conservancy’s Piney Grove Preserve.

The Phoenix 3 team is based in Perry Point, Md., but consists of members from around the country. In addition to completing community service projects, members of the team will be holding several outreach events to get local youth involved with community service.