Skip to comments.Aussie and New Zealand firefighters battle US wildfire
Posted on 08/12/2002 7:34:16 AM PDT by dead
Australian and New Zealand fire fighters were deployed today to a massive wildfire burning out of control on the United States' west coast.
Weary US fire fighters have struggled for a month to contain what has become Oregon's largest fire in more than 100 years.
"We are excited to have the Australians and New Zealanders here because we need all of the help we can get," Paul Galloway, a spokesman at the Oregon fire fighting headquarters, said.
"It's a pretty significant fire that has stretched our resources on a national level."
Australia and New Zealand sent 48 of their most experienced fire fighters to America last Thursday after the US government issued an SOS call.
The US is in the middle of one of its worst fire seasons and today 18 large wildfires are burning in eight states.
The Australasian contingent spent two days in Boise, Idaho, acclimatising themselves to US weather patterns, vegetation and US fire fighting techniques. Today, 43 of fire fighters were sent to the frontlines in Oregon.
The wildfire, which is officially known as the Biscuit fire, has scorched more than 333,891 acres of forest and in recent days has travelled south into the northern part of California.
The blaze began on July 13 when a lighting storm in the Siskiyou National Forest sparked five separate fires. The smaller fires soon merged into one giant wildfire.
Some of the Oregon-based Australasian fire fighters, many with decades of experience, will assume division supervisor positions and each will be responsible for around 100 US fire fighters on the ground.
The others will manage fire fighting helicopter bases.
The biggest problem facing the fire fighting effort is gaining access to the wildfire.
"It's really rugged terrain," Galloway said.
"It's steep, rocky, heavy timber. The fire has worked its way out of the wilderness area but access to it remains quite difficult."
The Australasian contingent was drawn from New Zealand, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.
Good on ya General!
So, since I'm told that Foster's is swill by Aussie standards, consider a pint of whatever your poison is to be hoisted in the general direction of Australasia ;)
I'll be right with you. Just lookin' for my roll of foil...
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