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The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fire Management Program is responsible for protecting and restoring lands in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Pacific Islands territories.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Helps Fight Wildfires in Australia

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fire Management - 2007

Three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fire program employees have been dispatched to Australia, along with more than 100 other U.S. volunteers, to assist with wildfire suppression efforts near Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria. They will each be serving 30-day assignments from mid-January until mid-February.

An extended drought this year in Australia, where it is currently summer, has caused a sharp increase in fire danger and wildfire activity there. The assistance from the United States is being provided as part of an agreement that has also allowed Australian, New Zealander, and Canadian firefighters to help fight U.S. fires during past seasons. The agreement includes cross-training in each country’s respective climates, safety practices, and firefighting operations.

John Segar from the Service’s national office is serving as the U.S. representative to the State of Victoria’s Department of Sustainability and Environment. In this role, he is coordinating deployment and providing direction to all U.S. firefighters currently in Victoria. Segar’s regular position is FWS National Fuels Coordinator based in Boise, Idaho, at the National Interagency Fire Center

Mary Kwart, Region 7 Fuels Specialist based in Anchorage, Alaska, is serving as a Situation Unit Leader. In this position, she is working as a member of an Incident Management Team providing daily maps and fire behavior data to support effective fire planning and operations.

Robert Lambrecht, the Fire Management Officer for the Koyukuk/Nowita National Wildlife Refuge based in Galena, Alaska, is serving in a field position as a Division Supervisor. Before fighting wildfire, all U.S. firefighters are oriented to local safety concerns such as fire behavior, weather, and natural hazards. They are working with local crews to suppress large fires, conduct initial attack, and assist with emergency rehabilitation assessments.

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