Western Call-Ups

NBWFC boasts multiple members who have been deployed to the out of state, usually to the Western United States, to assist in the suppression of wildfires when regional man-power and resources become strained. Crew members who have been on assignment out west include:

  • Ryan Hunsicker
  • Michael Hunsicker
  • Eric Stefferud
  • Kevin Strunk
  • Jean Pfister
  • Nate Pfister
  • Sam Pfister
  • Penny McDonagh
  • Chris Mast
  • Tom Ludka
  • Bradley Prater
  • Jason Mirandi
  • Mike Guarino
  • Tyler Bachman
  • Alex Stonefelt
  • Henry Lovett

Former Members:

  • Greg Reese
  • Bob Andrews


Below are some of their deployment details and photos.


In 2018, Squad Bosses Erik Stefferud & Tom Ludka, Lead Sawyer Chris Mast, Medic Penny McDonagh and firefighters Sam Pfister, Tyler Bachman, Jason Mirandi and Bradley Prater all deployed to fight fire in more than 10 states across the west for months at a time in one of the longest lasting fire seasons on record.

Stefferud, Mast & Pfister deployed to northern Idaho on the Copper Mountain fire and were on the first Pennsylvania crew to ever fight fire across the border into Canada.

McDonagh spent her entire summer out west, fighting fires across multiple states as a medical resource. Penny plans to head back out in 2019 for another full summer.

Ludka deployed to southern Oregon on PA-3 in mid-July. He worked on the Hendrix & Sugar Pine fires, assisting with securing line, mop up, and hose line management.

Mirandi deployed to California on PA-8, the last crew sent west for 2018. He worked together with Pfister, who was on his second deployment. PA-8 worked on the Kerlin fire, burning out, mopping up and achieving full containment before being moved to the Delta fire near the city of Redding.

Bachman worked on an engine crew for the National Park Service. He was sent to the Dinosaur National Monument and fought the Bassett, Winter & Curtis fires in Colorado & Utah with other crews from the Bureau of Land Management & Indian Affairs.

Prater worked on a hand crew out of Oklahoma for the summer. He fought multiple fires over months, gaining valuable experience in fighting the grass fires common to the area. He brings this knowledge back to PA and plans to return west for 2019.

Stefferud & Pfister in Idaho


Bachman in Colorado

Mirandi & Pfister in California

Stefferud in Idaho

PA-3 in Oregon

Ludka with PA-3 in Oregon

Kerlin Fire in California

Mirandi in California
















In 2017, Greg Reese, Eric Stefferud, Jason Mirandi, Jean Pfister, Chris Mast, and Brad Prater all deployed to the Western US on different assignments. Crew members fought multiple fires in California, Idaho and Montana in what was the worst fire season in US history.

Stefferud in Northern California







Mirandi in Idaho & Montana















  • Crew Lead Sawyer Bob Andrews joined PA1 on the two-week deployment to Alaska in June 2015.  Andrews later deployed for a second time in September to assist on wildfires in the pacific northwest.

Andrews in Alaska

In the summer of 2015 Crew Superintendent Greg Reese deployed with PA crew 5 to the Pacific Northwest to help with suppression efforts during the record-breaking outbreak of wildfires in August.Crews were heavily involved in line construction, suppression and mop up.

Reese in Washington

Summer 2013 Deployments

  • PA#4 was dispatched on August 7th to Lodgepole fire in Idaho, shortly after arriving they were resigned to the McCan Fire in South Central Idaho.  The crew (PA#4) spiked out for 8 days and then was resigned to the Beaver Creek Complex for the rest of the assignment.  Crew Boss Greg Reese went out as one of the Crew Bosses.  PA#4 had a great trip, always learning new things to bring back to PA for all the other crew members and firefighters that are involved in the program.

Summer 2012 Deployments:

  • On Tuesday August 7, NBWFC Crew Boss Greg Reese and NBWFC Squad Boss Kevin Strunk were deployed by the DCNR to fight forest fires in California.  Kevin operated as a FFT2 on PA7 and Greg operated as a CRWB (T) on PA5.  While operating in California both PA5 and PA7 were reassigned to several fires.  PA5 was assigned to four fires including the Piute Complex (Sequoia National Forest), Indian Fire (Inyo National Forest near Mammoth CA), Jawbone Complex (Sequoia National Forest), and lastly the Copco fire (Angels National Forest). Greg and Kevin returned from California safely on August 24, 2012.

PA6 News Article – This is a news article published by “The Pine Tree.Net” a news agency in Arnold California. Kevin Strunk made front page news.


  • NBWFC member Mike Hunsicker was also was deployed by the DCNR with PA1 to fight forest fires out in western US.  While deployed, Mike helped contain two fires in Colorado (State Line Fire and Weber Fire) and traveled with PA 1 to Wyoming to battle a third fire. While operating out west, Mike encountered triple digit heat, 16 hour work days, many miles of walking, steep grades of 50% or better and worked consistently at around 7000′ in elevation. Mike returned safely after a 17 day deployment. Thanks for your commitment to the community and we are happy to know you are home safe.

You can read a written recollection of events from Michael in his writeup “A Western Call up“.

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