Aussies help battle U.S. bushfires

Aug. 10, 2006 at 12:53 PM
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MELBOURNE, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Sixteen firefighters from the state of Victoria began leaving Australia Thursday to join more than 40 other Australian and New Zealanders battling wildfires in the United States.

Western Australian Environment Minister Mark McGowan said his state is also sending seven experienced fire managers in response to appeals for help in fighting nearly 40 wildfires burning out of control across five states. Some 2.35 million hectares (5.8 million acres) have been scorched by the flames, he said.

"There are currently 38 active large fires throughout the states of California, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon," McGowan said, adding the firefighters would remain in the United States for about a month or until the fires were under control.

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