Forest Service planning to send more fire support to Australia
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Fires continue to rage across Australia and local agencies are doing their part to help fight them.
U.S. Forest Service has sent 87 employees abroad to help with fire suppression in Australia, including Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Caption Dave Soldavini and Tahoe National Forest Office Jason Withrow.
“I got into [fire-fighting] and I think so did most people because we do care and we do want to help those people and those communities that need,” said LTBMU Forest Fire Management Officer Carrie Thaler. “Plus, how exciting is it to go to Australia and help.”
Through an agreement called the National Interagency Fire Center-Australia Agreement, countries can share resources in cases of emergency.
In 2018, Australia and New Zealand sent 138 firefighters to help with fires in Northern California.
Thaler said because this time of year, the basin has a low fire restrict, especially with precipitation expected to continue throughout next week, she was able to offer up resources to those who need them.
Soldavini, who will be deployed for the month of January, was the first from LTBMU to be sent but Thaler said seven more are on the list to go.
Soldavini is being hosted by Country Fire Authority. CFA is a primarily volunteer drive, rural group that Thaler said is similar to CalFire.
According to Thaler, the group consists of seven volunteers for every one paid professional firefighter.
Fires have been a hot topic globally, especially here in California and Nevada over the last few years.
While Thaler is able to send resources elsewhere, she and other local agencies are able to use this season for fire prevention.
LTBMU is part of Tahoe Fire Fuels Team, a group of 21 federal, tribal, state and local agencies working on fuel reductions. Over the past few days, the groups have been burning fuel piles around the basin.
“Statiscally, we don’t have as many fires as we used to but the fires we are having are exponentially more devastating,” Thaler said. “There is so much more to be done and its not the time for people to sit back and think everything is okay.”
Another group of Americans will soon be sent to Australia.