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Firefighters return home from Australia

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)- A pair of Bureau of Land Management firefighters are home after providing assistance in Australia.

Battalion Chief Kris Bruington and Engine Captain Farron Kunkel each spent a month in the country helping fight the devastating fires. The United States, Australia, and New Zealand each provide mutual aid assistance during fire season. When the call went out late last year for help, the two men immediately volunteered to go.

During their stay, they worked in Victoria and even saved a Hotel. say fighting fires here is much like Australia. "The base camp we were out of, Swiss Creek, just like in the states you start with the morning. Well you start with breakfast- that's usually a good thing to begin with. Then you have a briefings, it's an operational briefing, covers on who's going where and who's working for whom, weather conditions, what resources are available what can we expect for the day," Bruington said.

The climate varies by region and can be pretty extreme. Kunkel says, "The diversity of the landscape, Southeast Australia in itself really there's 5 or 10 different climates, microclimates, we saw a picture of the way they layered the different climates and you have Brazil on one end and you had Northern Africa and you had the Mojave dessert. Just lots of different climates temperature changes depending on elevation."

BLM says they plan to send more firefighters from Idaho Falls to help in Australia this year.

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