Press Release

Press Release Governor Baker Activates National Guard to Support Fire Mitigation in Rockport

For immediate release:
8/18/2022
  • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
  • Massachusetts National Guard
  • Bureau of Forest Fire Control and Forestry

Media Contact for Governor Baker Activates National Guard to Support Fire Mitigation in Rockport

Timothy McGuirk, Communications

RockportGovernor Charlie Baker has activated the Massachusetts National Guard in response to a request from the Town of Rockport to address the ongoing Briarwood Fire. The order makes up to 30 specially-trained service personnel available to assist local emergency responders in preserving life and property. 

The Briarwood Fire is one of more than 800 wildfires reported this year in the Commonwealth which have burned a combined 1,248 acres according to the Department of Conservation and Recreation Bureau of Forest Fire Control and Forestry. Burning for one month across a 19-acre profile, the Briarwood Fire continues to smolder above and below ground. To protect residents and visitors, state and local officials have established a delineated containment area which members of the National Guard will support as part of the mission.

The dedicated women and men selected for this mission serve as firefighters in the Massachusetts Army National Guard's tactical firefighting units on Joint Base Cape Cod. The 179th and 180th Engineer Detachments specialize in complex rescue and firefighting operations at home and abroad, including forest fires, structural fires, aircraft crash incidents, vehicle emergencies, and hazardous material incidents. Their wildfire suppression training, skilled expertise, and regular collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Recreation equip them to strengthen the containment line and meaningfully contribute to Rockport’s ongoing fire mitigation efforts.

In light of the drought facing every region of the Commonwealth, members of the public can access the Department of Fire Safety resources here, and are asked to take special care around any outdoor activities that increase the risk of brush and forest fires such as grilling, camping, smoking, and using power equipment that can reach high temperatures, such as lawnmowers and ATVs.

The Massachusetts National Guard trains regularly with military, law enforcement, and civilian agencies to provide a broad spectrum of services in support of security, logistics, disaster relief, and other missions. The Guard has a proven track record of success supporting civilian authorities. Their frequent side-by-side training with state and local first responders makes them well-suited for a variety of missions. This mission will not interfere with the Massachusetts National Guard’s ability to respond to and assist in other emergencies within the Commonwealth.

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Media Contact for Governor Baker Activates National Guard to Support Fire Mitigation in Rockport

Executive Office of Public Safety and Security 

EOPSS is responsible for the policy development and budgetary oversight of its secretariat agencies, independent programs, and several boards which aid in crime prevention, homeland security preparedness, and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors in the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts National Guard 

The Massachusetts National Guard is an operational reserve of the United States Army and Air Force that provides ready, relevant and reliable troops and equipment to respond to natural disasters or other civil emergencies when activated by the Governor. The Guard also supports the federal military mission when activated to duty by the President of the United States.

Bureau of Forest Fire Control and Forestry 

The Bureau of Forest Fire Control and Forestry offers programs to promote, protect and enhance healthy and diverse wooded and urban forests throughout our Commonwealth including grant opportunities for urban forestry and volunteer fire assistance, staff assistance to municipalities for fire control, consulting forestry and forest stewardship for private lands, oversight of forest health issues including insect and disease control and storm related response, regulatory guidance on timber harvests as well as forest management and timber sales on state lands.
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