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Iowa firefighters going to Alaska, Texas and Colorado to battle wildfires

AMES – As wildfires continue to rage in parts of the west, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fire Program has started to dispatch wildland firefighters to Alaska, Texas and Colorado.

The fire program recently sent six Iowa wildland firefighters to Alaska for three weeks and two firefighters to Colorado for two weeks. Three wildland firefighters along with the DNR type 6 fire engine are in Texas fighting the Dempsey Fire.

“We just sent three firefighters to replace the first crew,” said Ryan Schlater, fire specialist, with the Iowa DNR’s Fire Program. “They are patrolling for new fire starts. Conditions are very hot and dry.”

Iowa DNR fire staff watch the daily fire behavior and new fire starts, such as the new one threatening Yosemite’s Mariposa Sequoia grove of trees.

“We have more firefighters available and ready to go once resource orders come in,” explains Schlater.

The fire program has been sending wildland firefighters to national incidents since 2006. A crew and fire engine helped fight the Rim Fire in Yosemite in 2013.

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