US firefighters help tackle Australian bush fires

More than 170 U.S. firefighters are helping Australians fight their worst fire season ever.


World News

January 23, 2020 - 10:23 AM

Benjamin Covault, 40, a smoke jumper from McCall, Idaho, works to cut down dangerous trees in a hot spot in the Alpine National Park. He has 16 years of experience and is normally a overseeing operations, but in Australia is taking down trees. Photo by (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

OVENS, Australia —It was a rare victory for the seasoned Americans battling flames Down Under.

Beneath a green eucalyptus canopy in the country’s Australian Alps, the continent’s tallest mountain range dividing New South Wales and Victoria, some of America’s most versatile firefighters, mostly from Southern California, are laboring to help the Australians gain the upper hand against their worst fire season ever.

The work, up until Saturday afternoon, had not always been fruitful for these two dozen firefighters, nearly all of them from the Angeles National Forest. Weekly lightning storms have sparked new fires beyond their defensive positions, and even some older fires have spread so quickly they have outrun crews finishing containment lines.

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