The Californian wildfires have been all over the news for a few weeks now and much of the state’s understaffed fire departments working tirelessly to deal with the blazes that have already burned through hundreds of thousands of acres of land. And so, to help them out in these times of need and to put out the record-breaking wildfire that has engulfed the state, firefighters from Mexico have now made their way across the border, reports CNN. As per reports, the United States Forest Service in California welcomed firefighters from the Mexican National Forestry commission on Wednesday. Eduardo Cruz, National Fire Director for the Mexican organization, issued a statement in solidarity with the hundreds of firefighters and volunteers and said: “Fires do not have borders, fires do not have different languages and cultures. In the end, we all speak the same language when it comes to fighting fire.”
The crews will help fight the Sequoia Complex Fire, which spreads across 144,000 acres of land and stands 35% contained as of Thursday. This is the second time another country’s fire agency has sent in reinforcements this month after Canada also sent firefighting crews to California and Oregon after the USFS asked for help through the National Interagency Fire Center. According to the Los Angeles edition of CBS Local, as many as 100 firefighters from the Comisión Nacional Forestal, or CONAFOR, arrived at the San Bernardino International Airport where greetings and gifts were exchanged between the two countries’ respective departments. Five crews and a total of 100 firefighters have arrived from Guadalajara after they answered the USFS interagency call.
Tony Scardina, Deputy Regional Forester of the US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest region, said: “It’s really an honor to have them at our request through the National Interagency Fire Center,” said in a video on Twitter. “We’re able to have them through our partnership come work with us, and help us with the unprecedented fire situation. We’re proud to have them here.” Meanwhile, according to NBC Los Angeles, Cruz spoke of the opportunity to help out another agency and said: “I am excited about this unique opportunity to visit a station where I worked and trained when I was young. The training I received helped me advance my career and now I feel able to help USFS and Sequoia, bringing firefighters from Mexico with me, to provide support in the California firefighting effort.” Cruz, the current head of CONAFOR, reportedly spent two seasons as a forest firefighter and worked with a helicopter crew in the Sequoia National Forest early in his career, when he was part of a training and exchange program.
The two cross-border agencies have a history of cooperation between each other since 1962, as per reports with the USFS dispatching fire management specialists to help Mexico contain the terrible fires that occurred in Quintana Roo in 1989. Besides this, the USFS has also cooperated with Mexico in areas of fire management by offering training and supporting it in strengthening their fire fighting armory since 1983. At the time of writing this story as many as 23 large fires are said to be burning in California alone with at least 12 reported in Oregon. As much as 3.4 million acres of Californian land is said to have burned down due to the fire, while 938,000 acres of land have burned in Orlando.
The Mexican embassy to the United States also confirmed the news on its official Twitter and wrote that CONAFOR had informed the agency that firefighters would be arriving in the United States on Thursday.
Disclaimer: “This is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more. Information about the California fires is swiftly changing, and Shared is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication.”