USA/Australia — About 25 firefighters from the Pacific Northwest are headed to Australia Friday to manage and help put out wildfires there.
As of Thursday, fires in Australia have killed 181 people, damaged or destroyed 1,069 private dwellings, and burned more than 1 million acres.
In total, 63 firefighters nationwide are being sent to help in the wildfire effort, under an international-aid agreement. The U.S. contingent will include smoke jumpers, rapellers, hotshot crew members, fire management personnel, a meteorologist and four burned area recovery specialists.
Among the Northwest fire personnel are several firefighters from Bureau of Land Management units in Washington and Oregon, a National Park Service employee from Seattle, a worker with the Bureau of Indian Affairs employee and a worker with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, both from Portland.
They’ll depart Friday and rendezvous with other firefighters in Los Angeles before heading to Melborne. They will be in the State of Victoria, working for the Department of Sustainability and Environment for up to 35 days.
Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians, among others, have assisted with U.S. wildfires. The last time U.S. firefighters were last deployed to Australia was in late 2006 and early 2007.