January 6, 2020
Firefighters from Southern California are heading to Australia to help in the fight against the massive bushfires burning in New South Wales and Victoria.
Credit: US Forest Service
The Angeles National Forest Service is sending 20 veteran firefighters, said Forest Service spokesman Andrew Mitchell. The firefighters, who come from all parts of the Los Angeles area, battled the Saddle Ridge Fire in October.
They will fly Monday afternoon out of Los Angeles International Airport.
“This is definitely kind of a once-in-a-career opportunity for many folks,” said Chief Robert Garcia with the U.S. Forest Service. “They have experience leading crews themselves, and they have anywhere from five to 20 years of experience.”
In years past, Australian firefighters have often come over to the U.S. to fight wildfires during their off season.
“Australian firefighters come over here to train with us to fight out fires, so we are returning the favor to them,” Mitchell said.
The firefighters will be in Australia for 35 days before they are rotated out.
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