SYDNEY A group of Australian firefighters left for the United States on Friday to assist in battling wildfires in the states of California, Oregon and Washington.
The firefighters gathered at the Sydney airport on Friday to travel to the western US, where fire authorities have been battling severe wildfires in recent weeks.
We are very appreciative of the Australian and New Zealand firefighters for their availability to assist us with our current fire situation, Dan Smith, Chair of the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC), said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement added that fire managers at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho would be mobilizing around 150 firefighters and specialists from Australia and New Zealand to help with suppressing wildfires.
The agency said it was currently at National Preparedness Level 5, indicating strong commitment of fire suppression resources in response to the high level of wildfire activity and weather conditions that make fire ignitions more likely in the coming weeks.
The firefighters are due to participate in a one-day orientation session before heading off to fight fires.
Canadian authorities have sent two Convair 580 air tankers and a plane from the central province of Saskatchewan to support the fire suppression operations in the Pacific Northwest.
Wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington have burned across hundreds of thousands of acres since July, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes and leaving several dead.