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Kentucky Firefighters Answer Alaska's Call for Aid Amid Forest Fires

Photo: David Boyd, Sockeye Fire Information (Via Alaska Public Media)

Kentucky Division of Forestry firefighters are heading to Alaska to battle a number of wildfires.

The 16 full-time and 5 part-time firefighters will be joined by personnel from several federal agencies - including Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area - forming two 20-person crews.

Division of Forestry public information officer Jennifer Turner says the assignment is for 14 days. She says it was Kentucky’s turn on a rotation of southern states that answer calls for aid from the U.S. Forest Service.

“Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky are up for the rotation to be called in if they need help and they called in yesterday and we’re sending help,” Turner said.

Kentucky’s firefighters are often called to aid other states this time of year. Turner says the commonwealth’s peak fire seasons are February 15-April 30 and October 1-December 15.

“So because of that, our firefighters are down in the summer time and that gives them the opportunity to be able to help out west when it’s their high fire season," Turner said.

Turner says it’s likely the wildfires were caused by lightning strikes.

The firefighters will depart Monday afternoon from Knoxville, Tenn.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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