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As Florida Firefighters Help Fight California Wildfires, More To Head To Oregon

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MGN Online

Forty forestry firefighters are in California right now battling wildfires. Additional Florida firefighters are also helping to fight wildfires in other states along the west coast, and more are on the way.

Florida Forest Service Director Jim Karels says California’s need is similar to some tough active wildfire seasons Florida endured in the past.

“Very extreme drought that caused us to resources in every year from all over the country, and it’s kind of the same thing that California is going through right now,” said Karels. “They’re in a four, five year drought that is taxing them beyond their ability to deal with within the state.”

The Florida Forest Service has sent two crews made up of 20 wildland firefighters each to California to assist on the frontlines. And, Oregon will soon be the latest to get Florida help.

“They were asking for some positions that primarily help manage firefighter aviation resources, and we’ve got some of them. It won’t be a real large number yet,” added Karels. “But, if our activity continues to improve, if we continue to get rain in Florida, the chances of sending more crews in large numbers is highly probable because the west is escalating every day right now.”

Crews were also recently sent to Alaska, Washington state, and North Carolina.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.