New York City to the Cavity Lake Fire

     What do five New York City Firefighters know about fighting a wilderness fire?  Not much at all.  Then what are they doing working on the Cavity Lake Fire?  In an effort to better serve their departments and prepare New York City for another catastrophic event such as 9-11, these firefighters are working side by side with members of the Pacific Northwest National Incident Management Team II.

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     The Cavity Lake Fire may not have been a lucky event for the Gunflint Trail but the residents sure felt lucky to get the help of Team II from the Pacific Northwest.  This team is top notch when it comes to managing incidents and they have worked together at various types of events including hurricanes, the Columbia recovery, and 9-11 in New York City .  The high level of skill and expertise is what the FDNY hopes to learn from the Type I Team while working side by side during the Cavity Lake Fire.



     The world changed on September 11, 2001 and the city of New York really changed.  The city was turned upside down and when the city started to try to recover after that devastating day they found themselves without the resources and abilities to handle an event of such catastrophic proportions.  They tried to manage the incident to the best of their ability but eleven days after the event they called for help and the “Tree People” answered.



     The FDNY, along with most everyone else in the city, had no clue what a bunch of “Tree People” (the Type I Team wearing Forest Service uniforms) could do for them and their city.  What they found out was these “Tree People” knew how to get things done.  The Team was in charge of receiving, dispersing, and caching the overwhelming amount of equipment and supplies needed at Ground Zero.  Incident Commander Mike Lohrey brought his highly organized team in and each member got right to work on their area of expertise.  Right from Ground Zero the team created order out of chaos and things became better almost over night.  According to New York City Firefighter Pat Cleary, the question asked from everyone upon the Type I Team’s arrival was, “Who are these tree people and how are they going to help us in New York City ?”  That question was soon replaced with the comment, “If you need something done, ask the Tree People.”

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     How do these “Tree People” know how to get things done and done so well?  They are an amazing group of individuals that come together with all of their unique talents to create one incredible Incident Management Team.  The Team we have on the Cavity Lake Fire has done an outstanding job with the fire and they are a great group of people.  Information Officer Mike Ferris says their success in dealing with fires and other large events is due to the fact there are no egos involved, only humble professionals who come to work together as a team to serve firefighters and the public. 



     This is what the “Tree People” have done during the Cavity Lake Fire.  They have served both their firefighters and the public by keeping everyone safe and informed.  They have checked their egos at the door and have become a part of the Gunflint Trail Community.  There is no doubt in my mind that the members of the FDNY will be better prepared in the case of another incident in New York City .  What an awesome opportunity for them to learn something about Incident Management while at the same time teaching others just how important and special the “Tree People” are.