Asia Pacific

Utah firefighters in Australia assisting in brush blaze battle

AP

Utah firefighters are among the U.S. federal and state personnel who have traveled to Australia to help stop brush fires that have prompted a national emergency, officials said.

Five federal agencies and 10 states including Utah have sent 21 firefighters to Australia, The Deseret News reported Tuesday.

The state of emergency was declared due to a massive fire near Sydney, with other national park and mountain fires expected to fuse as brush fires continue to spread across 1,563 sq. miles (4,048 sq. km) of Australia, authorities said.

The fires have been fueled by 25 mph (40 kph) winds amid temperatures reaching 113 degrees (45 degrees Celsius), officials said.

The United States, Mexico and Canada have a cooperative, reciprocal agreement in place to help Australia, said Craig Glazier, deputy director of fire and aviation for the the U.S. Forest Service Intermountain Region in Ogden.

There have been two mobilizations of U.S. firefighters this month and Glazier said he planned to submit nominations for a third deployment Monday.

“Those guys are in bad shape in Australia,” Glazier said.