Four Oregon firefighters traveled to Australia today to assist with the country's devastating bush fires.
That brings the total number of Oregon firefighters currently in Australia up to 15, according to National Interagency Fire Center spokesperson Carrie Bilbao. The four Oregon firefighters headed Australia today include staff from the Bureau of Land Management in Vale, Prineville and Burns, the Oregon and Washington, BLM wrote in a statement.
Millions of acres are currently burning in Australia, where more than 20 people and around 480 million animals have died. The fires have destroyed thousands of homes and turned air in Australia and New Zealand orange-tinted and dangerously hazy with smoke pollution.
"Fires that started to burn in August have continued uninterrupted with large areas of both New South Wales and Queensland burned, multiple property losses, and, sadly, fatalities," the Oregon and Washington BLM wrote. "Fire conditions in Australia are extreme due to an extended drought, hot temperatures, and relative humidity in the single digits."
In August 2018, 138 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand traveled to the Pacific Northwest and Northern California to assist with wildfire management. The U.S. last sent firefighters to Australia in 2010.