Out-of-State Firefighters Sent to Louisiana to Battle Wildfires

Like Katrina and Rita were not enough, now comes something outside the normal headlines Louisiana is used to. Wildfires are not what we usually think of, when Cajun country comes to mind. Once again, rescue teams from other states have come to assist people in an already fragile state of existance. Weary and pushed to the furthest limits by two monster storms, we now have to worry about people loosing even more than we have already. Here’s a few quips:

More rescue teams are in Louisiana, this time to help firefighters deal with an outbreak of wildfires fueled by trees that have been downed across southern Louisiana by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Since the out-of-state firefighters arrived on Sept. 28, they have saved 93 residences from catching fire while aiding Louisiana firefighters in battling fires that have blackened 899 acres of land in southeastern Louisiana, said Bruce MacDonald, a North Carolina forest ranger and spokesman for the firefighting team.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is picking up the $20 million tab for the special teams.

Firefighter Dave Hardy, on temporary assignment from Florida, has worked similar duties in other states. He said Louisiana “has been the most difficult detail.”

“At first, people didn’t know how to react to us. Then, they realized we were here for a reason – to save their house,” he said.

In the western United States where wildfires are an annual problem, residents are accustomed to seeing firefighters park fire trucks in their driveways. The fires in Louisiana are another complication for people who already have lost a lot,” he said.

“Their minds are so shot that they don’t know how to react when they see us coming in,” he said.

Hardy said he started fighting wildfires after Florida was hit by more than 1,000 such fires that raced across more than 200,000 acres in 1998.

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