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More Wisconsin Firefighters Headed West To Battle Blazes

DNR Has Sent Dozens Of Personnel To Other States This Year

U.S. Department of Agriculture (CC-BY)

Seventeen more firefighters with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are on their way to the western United States to help with wildfires there, joining 13 other DNR personnel who are already on the ground in California, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana.

Nearly 29,000 firefighters are helping the western states deal with more than 100 fires. Three firefighters were killed in Washington state earlier this week.

High temperatures and drought conditions have amplified the fires and thousands of people have evacuated their homes. The raging fires have also blanketed much of the western United States in smoke.

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Trent Marty, who leads the Wisconsin DNR’s forestry protection bureau, said the firefighters have their work cut out for them. “This is going to be a fire season that ranks in the top five nationally just because of the magnitude of the season,” he said.

He said there are about four to six weeks left in the fire season.

The DNR has stationed more than 90 firefighters around the country so far this year to assist in battling fires in other states.

“Other states have provided significant support to us here in Wisconsin, notably during the Germann Road fire in 2013, and this shared approach helps all agencies make efficient use of resources,” Marty said.

Firefighting experts from Australia and New Zealand have also arrived to help, along with National Guard and active military personnel who have also been stationed out west.