U.S. Firefighters Get Overseas Help
From New Zealand and Australia
More than 70 firefighters from New Zealand and Australia arrived at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, on Monday to help battle the fires burning in the Pacific Northwest, according to the AP. They will join 200 U.S. troops from Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord. It's the first time active-duty soldiers have been used to fight wildfires in nine years, according to the Los Angeles Times.
On Monday, Washington's Okanogan Complex of wildfires became the largest in state history, having consumed more than 400 square miles of land, fire spokesman Rick Isaacson told the AP. Peak fire season occurs at opposite times in the U.S. and Australia and New Zealand, and those Southern Hemisphere nations have lent out firefighters when necessary for more than 50 years. This is the first time since 2008 that the U.S. has requested help.
The international firefighters are prepared for the conditions in the Pacific Northwest, Warren Heslip, a firefighter from Southland, New Zealand, told the AP. “We're used to tall timber and steep territory.”