Badger Fire crew builds bridges across boundaries

Incident Commander Calvin Kaquatosh (Menominee Tribe) and  Jaime Goodbear (Ho-Chunk Nation) prepare for operations on the Bowers 2 Fire (Potosi Road).

“Hey, I have to call you back,” said Jeremy Erickson, as he hung up the phone to rejoin the others on the Badger State Fire Suppression Module as they loaded into vehicles to respond to another wildfire that had just been reported on Mark Twain National Forest.  

Erickson serves as the assistant forest management officer from the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and oversees the fire management program at the Blackwell Job Corps office in Laona, Wisc.    

He is one of the crewmembers on the Badger State Fire Suppression Module. The call he had to drop was from the Mark Twain National Forest’s public affairs officer who was reaching out to find out more about the unique crew of which Erickson was a member; and what they were doing on the Forest.

“It’s exciting when you hear that a highly-collaborative firefighting module is on your Forest doing good work, so I had to find out more,” said Cody Norris, public affairs officer for Mark Twain National Forest.  

When Norris called Erickson, the module had already helped Mark Twain National Forest’s wildland firefighters stop the progression of two new wildfires that day, before Erickson had to hang up to head to a third.  

The 19th was a gusty November day with red flag warnings across much of the state — a recipe for new fire starts. Mark Twain’s fire management officer, Jim Cornelius, explained the importance of this crew being on the Forest.

“This can be a challenging time of year for us, and having assistance from a crew like this can be a force multiplier,” he said.  

Badger State personnel finish off a firing operation on Sterling Hollow Rx (Willowsprings Road).

After a long summer of going to support Western U.S. firefighting efforts, the wildland firefighters from Mark Twain returned to Missouri where wildfire season is just starting in the fall.  

Having firefighters from other areas coming here to support the Forest’s program is effective in meeting mission needs and is a big morale booster.  
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“The Badger Fire Module also symbolizes how effective our wildland firefighting programs are at bringing people together across boundaries to serve the public in a common mission,” added Cornelius.

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