Utah Firefighter Arrives In Australia, Gives Training Update
VICTORIA, Australia – Utah Bureau of Land Management wildland firefighter Jason Porter said he and his group of firefighters will be traveling to the Australian state of Victoria to begin battling fires in the East Gippsland area.
Porter spoke with KSL’s Alex Cabrero before he left for Australia on Dec. 30 for a 30-day deployment.
“We’re obviously talking a different ecosystem down there, different fuel types,” he said. “When we get there initially, we’re going to spend two days just training on the factors that influence their fire behavior.”
On Friday, Porter said training crews discussed those fuel types and how to operate Australian fire engines, which are known as “tankers.”
“These apparatus are very different than what we operate at home, but are actually fairly simple and effective,” Porter said in Utah BLM Facebook update. “We will have local VFD drivers on each truck, which will relieve us from learning to drive on the opposite side of the vehicle and road.”
Porter’s group will be configured into two strike teams, each consisting of five tankers.
Porter said he will be functioning as a captain on one of those tankers.
At least 18 people have died and thousands of homes have been burned by wildfires that have devastated the country since the fire season began in late July.
Almost 15 million acres have burned across Australia’s six states – an area larger than the countries of Belgium and Haiti combined.
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