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The team from Team Rubicon comes back to Pulaski County to assist with firefighting



Pulaski, Virginia – Last year, the number of wildfires in Virginia reached a record high. In our hometowns, volunteers gathered to be ready before the start of the fire season in October.

A wildfire that burned across Pulaski County six months ago covered over 500 acres. During the fall fire season, Virginia saw nearly three times as many acres destroyed by wildfires as the previous six combined.

“Once your house is threatened by fire, it’s not something we forget,” said Pulaski County resident Peter Huber, whose house was near a devastating fire on Draper Mountain several years ago.

While the land is still healing from the fire, Team Rubicon traveled to Pulaski to contribute to the effort to keep this from happening in the future.

“We’re trying to help mitigate the risk that those incidents pose to the residents here,” said John Warren, the incident commander with Team Rubicon.

A volunteer-run group led by veterans, Team Rubicon provides humanitarian and natural disaster response services. They journey domestically and globally to assist communities in the wake of calamities.

“We’re here for the fourth operation that we’ve done in this area helping with fire mitigation,” added Warren.

Pulaski County’s emergency manager is Brad Wright. Given the shifting environment and the onset of fire season, he said it would be beneficial for Team Rubicon to return in early May.

“Even though [on Saturday] we’re getting a little bit of moisture, we have been dry this month. And Virginia did have a very active spring fire season. This year and last fall had a significant fire season as well,” said Wright.

The emergency manager for Pulaski County is Brad Wright. As the fire season approaches due to shifting conditions, he said it is advantageous for Team Rubicon to return in early May.

“We’re protecting the homes and the citizens of this community,” explained Steve Spangler, the mitigation crew leader with Pulaski County Fire.

Wright said the county is better prepared to protect citizens with help from Team Rubicon.

“That’s as just an amazing group of folks to work with. It’s a force multiplier for us, because we put our folks in with them,” said Wright. “We’re able to do three times more of the work this weekend than our whole staff would be able to do in a week.”

The veterans are glad to return the favor, and the county is appreciative of their assistance.

“At the end of the day, just as we do in disaster in blue skies, our gray shirts are trained, are built to serve. They give from their heart. And so when they’re able to come out here and do that because there’s not a disaster for them to respond to, it’s a great day for us. And this is what we live to do is to help others,” he said.

The people who gain the most from assistance from everyone are the citizens.

“These are all volunteers. They’ve given up their time. And for them to come here and work as hard as you hear them working . . . It’s a huge difference,” said Huber.

Wright advised all homeowners interested in reducing their home’s danger of wildfire to visit, even with these safeguards. It will assist in providing homeowners with actionable actions to reduce the likelihood of wildfires.

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