WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — According to a statement from Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs, “The United States stands with the people of Russia as they fight to contain the destructive spread of wildfires, which have taken lives and displaced many from their homes. We are taking action to support the heroic efforts of Russian firefighters and emergency responders as they seek to bring these fires under control.”

After close consultation with the Russian Government, the United States today began deliveries of firefighting equipment valued at approximately $2.5 million to bolster Russia’s fire suppression efforts. These deliveries will include water tanks, pumps, hand tools, fire-protective clothing, and medical kits. The United States also contributed $50,000 to support the operations of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to provide relief items, including blankets, bedding, and food parcels, for victims. The State of California has generously contributed additional supplies of fire-protective clothing. Total overall U.S. support for this effort is estimated to be valued at $4.5 million.

Russia is home to nearly one fourth of the world’s forests and it is important these fires are brought under control. Americans and Russians share a history of over 50 combined years of cooperation between forestry and emergency response professionals that can help in this regard. This is the latest example of cooperation between our two peoples when disaster strikes. Russia has offered assistance to the United States after Hurricane Katrina and most recently in oil spill cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tabitha Angel Berg is an aspiring author and musician and joined eNewsChannels in Nov. 2006 as an editor and mistress of the WP-based content management system (CMS). She likes ferrets better than cats and tea better than coffee, and is a devout iPad evangelist. Nobody pays her to like Dr. Pepper, but wouldn't you like to be a pepper, too?