Pa. firefighters assist efforts to battle western wildfires

Written by David Payne/Radio Pennsylvania | Aug 9, 2016 12:01 AM

In this Saturday, July 30, 2016, photo provided by Vince O'Daye, a helicopter flies over plumes of smoke from a wildfire in the community of Sutcliffe, Nev., about 35 miles north of Reno, Nevada. (Courtesy of Vince O'Daye via AP, File)

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania firefighters are being called up to assist western states in this busy wildfire season.

Two volunteer crews left Harrisburg on Friday headed to Montana, a week after two other groups were dispatched to Wyoming.

Terry Brady of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resurces says this has become a busy western wildfire season.

"First we had no call-ups and now we've had two in a week," he said. "So, it's indicative of the conditions out west. Wyoming's had some major problems. Dryness, drought and just tremendous fuel in some areas. You'd think we've had all these fires there'd be no fuel left. It just seems like every summer it's a different area of states like California, Idaho, Montana."

Brady says Pennsylvania is among the first choices when help is needed.

"Along with Ohio and Virginia and Maryland, sometimes," he said. "But, always Pennsylvanians are called because they are really well-trained and they've been there before."

Each crew of 20 firefighters will spend two weeks on the fire lines.

Brady expects more crews from the commonwealth to be dispatched soon.

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