LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — On Wednesday morning, 20 Angeles National Forest firefighters will return to Los Angeles after spending almost a month battling the raging wildfires in Australia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today.
The firefighters, many of which battled the Saddle Ridge Fire in October, flew out of Los Angeles International Airport on Jan. 6 to assist the Victoria Rural Fire Service, according to Forest Service spokesman Andrew Mitchell.
“All of us on the forest, and I know their families are proud of the hard work our dedicated firefighters accomplished while in Australia,” said Chief Robert Garcia with the U.S. Forest Service. “We look forward to hearing and learning from their experiences while abroad.”
The firefighters will be reunited with loved ones at the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Station 5 on Wednesday morning after arriving at LAX, the USDA’s Nathan Judy said.
On Jan. 2, firefighters with the National Interagency Fire Center took off for Australia, where a state of emergency was declared after more than 200 wildfires burned through Australia’s two most-populous states.
The fires claimed at least 33 human lives and millions of animals since erupting in September. They destroyed more than 3,000 homes and over 26.2 million acres.
It was not immediately announced if a new group of firefighters will be rotated out.
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