BLM personnel join 150 American firefighters on firelines
PHOENIX, Ariz (KYMA, KECY) - Three Arizona firefighters have joined the battle against devastating brushfires in Australia. More will join them in the coming weeks.
Brady Shultz, from the Bureau of Land Managment's (BLM) Colorado River District in Kingman, and Koreena Haynes from the BLM's Arizona State Office in Phoenix, deployed just after the new year to assist on fire engines in Victoria. John Garrett from the Gila District in Safford left on January 7 as part of a 20-person hand crew.
“Australia has come to help us when we needed an extra hand during our most extreme fire seasons, now it’s our turn to go help them in their time of need,” said Kelly Castillo, BLM Arizona's state fire management officer.
The U.S. has deployed more than 150 wildland fire personnel to Australia since December. They're performing mid-level fire management roles in engine, aviation and operations.
Castillo says more firefighters could deploy as soon as next week.
The U.S., Australia, and New Zealand have been exchanging fire assistance for more than 15-years. In August of 2018 more than 130 Australian and New Zealand firefighters came to the U.S. to help with wildfires in Northern California and in the Pacific Northwest.