NIFC trains visiting firefighters on local procedures and equipments

Posted at 10:23 PM, Aug 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-06 00:23:17-04

Fire shelter deployments, personal protective equipment: just a couple of the local conventions the Australian and New Zealanders were briefed on at NIFC in Boise .

"It's just to make sure that they understand local procedures, um, how things are described on the fire line in America compared to how they're described in Australia," Peter McKechnie, Manager of State Operations in Australia and New Zealand, said.

Firefighters flew in from "Down Under" Saturday to assist with wildfire suppression efforts. With one day to recover from any jetlag, they were trained on some key local firefighting protocols.

"It's understanding the different weather patterns over here, so they did a bit of fire behavior training.
At the moment they're getting all the backpacks and bedding and everything else that goes with it cause obviously it's far too hard to bring all of our gear over from Australia."

Come Monday, 53 firefighters will be dispatched to the Redding, California fire. 85 will go to Redmond, Oregon.

"Thankfully, Australia and New Zealand have a lot of well-trained firefighters that can come over and help us out when a lot of our resources are expended or are already on wildfires."

Peter McKechnie says our countries have stepped in to help each other in crises for several decades.

"We've had people moving between the countries, when we've needed to. When we've had bad fire seasons, the Americans have come and helped us."

After the NIFC training, officials suspect the only differences will be lingo-based.

"Somebody asked about, our fire terminology about snags the other day-- which is a tree that gets hung up. Um, in Australia, a snag is a sausage that goes on a barbeque. Um, so it's things like that that you can have a bit of a joke about a bit-- the different terminology and share some funny stories," Eagle said.