The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise announced Thursday that top fire managers representing various U.S. Wildland Fire agencies requested about 70 fire managers and specialists from the two countries.
With the nation still at wildfire preparedness Level 5 — the highest there is — and spending $ 150 million per week fighting fires, Australia and New Zealand are sending firefighters to help battle wildfires burning in the western United States.The United States has also sent its own firefighters to these countries when they need aid: 67 to Australia in 2007 and 73 in 2009.
This is not the first time that the United States has relied on firefighters from so far away. There’s a history of such international collaboration with Australia and New Zealand, going back to the year 2000, which the National Interagency Fire Center says is “the first time their firefighters fought fires on American soil.”
The last time the U.S. asked for help from Australia and New Zealand was in 2008.