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U.S. Calls Australia, New Zealand Firefighters For Help

“We currently remain at National Preparedness Level 5, our resources are fully committed and there are no season-ending weather events in the foreseeable forecast,” said Aitor Bidaburu.
U.S. Calls Australia, New Zealand Firefighters For Help
Image from: firefightingnews.com

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First they called in the U.S. military — and Canadian firefighting support. But with the nation still at wildfire preparedness Level 5 — the highest there is — and spending $ 150 million per week fighting fires, it still hasn’t been enough.

So now, 71 firefighters from half the world away, Australia and New Zealand, are being called up to help, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.“We currently remain at National Preparedness Level 5, our resources are fully committed and there are no season-ending weather events in the foreseeable forecast,” said National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group chair Aitor Bidaburu in a statement.

“Because of the current level of commitment and forecast, having fire management expertise from Australian and New Zealand firefighters will be of tremendous help as we continue suppressing ongoing fires.”

As of Thursday, there were 76 large fires across the United States, including 14 in California, 17 in Idaho, 11 in Montana, 12 in Oregon and 16 in Washington.

To see why more help is needed, you need only read this Los Angeles Times story, about a Washington state fire chief in Stevens County, Rick Anderson, who had to fight off a blaze with a “small crew of volunteers” after his repeated calls for help went unanswered.

As the story reads:

First, he called surrounding fire agencies for help. They were already overwhelmed by other wildfires.“Nobody came,” he said.Next, he called the county.“Nobody came,” said Anderson, who also works as a communications specialist for the sheriff’s office.


↓ Story continues below ↓

Then he called the Washington Department of Natural Resources.“They had nobody to come help us,” he said.

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