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MFC Recognizes Wildland Firefighters Week of Remembrance and Wildland Firefighter Appreciation Day

The Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) is proud to join other agencies and organizations across the country in recognizing June 30th to July 6th as the “Wildland Firefighters Week of Remembrance” and July 2nd as “Wildland Firefighter Appreciation Day.” These observances are dedicated to honoring the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to safeguard the public, property, infrastructure, and precious resources.

Since July 1, 2023, in Mississippi, MFC wildland firefighters have responded to 2,500 wildfires, battling flames that consumed approximately 52,000 acres across the state. Their commitment and tireless efforts deserve a tremendous amount of appreciation. Randy Giachelli, MFC Fire Chief, states, “The dangers wildland firefighters face cannot be underestimated. Wildfires are unpredictable, making the task of containing them incredibly challenging. While wildland firefighters are equipped with knowledge of weather conditions such as wind speed and relative humidity, these conditions can change in an instant, adding to the complexity of their work.”

Safety is paramount for MFC, and extensive training ensures that wildland firefighters are well-prepared to respond to wildfires. “We emphasize safety to all our employees,” said Bozeman, MFC State Forester. “A significant amount of time and energy is dedicated to training, ensuring our employees are as well-equipped as possible. We aim for every team member to return home healthy after engaging in any wildfire activity.”

It is important to remember that most wildfires in Mississippi and nationwide are human-caused. Escaped debris burns are the leading cause of wildfires in the state. As we observe the “Wildland Firefighters Week of Remembrance” and “Wildland Firefighter Appreciation Day,” it is important to reflect on the lives lost in the line of duty and appreciate wildland firefighters for their important service. It is also crucial for the public to do their part to help prevent wildfires.

In 2023, 18 wildland firefighters died in the line of duty in the United States. This number reflects the significant risks that wildland firefighters face while protecting their communities from wildfires. The efforts to improve safety measures and protocols continue to be a critical focus for agencies involved in wildland fire management.

Click here for more information on MFC’s wildfire protection division. If you see a wildfire, please report it immediately by calling 911.