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Hundreds Of Arizona Firefighters Assigned To Out-Of-State Western Wildfires

Noah Berger/AP

Hundreds of Arizona firefighters have been assigned to wildfires burning across the West. It comes amid an unprecedented season for deadly and destructive blazes in the region. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management says more than 200 personnel have been assigned to nearly a dozen wildfires in California, Colorado and Oregon. Officials say crews are being continuously reassigned because of changing conditions on the ground. Some firefighters are also being staged in higher risk areas awaiting any new starts.

The Coconino National Forest currently has about 130 firefighters working in western states including Idaho, Washington and Colorado. The Blue Ridge, Flagstaff and Mormon Lake hotshot crews are battling wildfires in California’s national forests.

Coconino officials say they’re confident they still have sufficient staffing levels to respond to any local wildfires. The Coconino remains in Stage I fire restrictions.

Tens of thousands of firefighters from across the country are battling nearly 100 fires burning in a dozen western states. The blazes have killed nearly three-dozen people in recent weeks.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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