Firefighters from Down Under to battle blazes in Pacific NW

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Firefighters from Oregon and Washington state are helping battle California’s devastating fires, and now dozens of firefighters from Australia and New Zealand are coming to help put out blazes in the Pacific Northwest.

Virginia Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service in Oregon, said Friday that 85 firefighters and support personnel from Australia and New Zealand arrive early next week. Currently, more than 8,000 firefighters and support personnel are battling wildfires in the Pacific Northwest. As of Friday morning, 16 large wildfires were burning in Oregon and six in Washington, affecting 290 square miles (750 square kilometers).

Those coming from Down Under include supervisors, heavy equipment bosses, and helicopter managers and crew members.

Hundreds of Oregon and Washington National Guard troops are also fighting fires in the two states.