Two Spokane firefighters help fight raging Arizona wildfire

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by KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on June 8, 2011 at 9:44 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 8 at 11:05 PM

SPOKANE -- More than 7,000 people have been ordered to evacuate as a raging wildfire continues to burn hundreds of thousands of acres in Arizona.  The fire has burned nearly 400,000 acres in the past 11 days.  The Wallow Fire is now the second largest wildfire in Arizona's history.  And it's spreading to New Mexico.

Two firefighters from the Spokane area are in Arizona helping to battle the flames.  More firefighters from the Spokane area could be on their way.  Spokane County Fire District 4 said they have never sent resources as far away as Arizona.
 
Chief Ed Lewis and Deputy Chief Randy Johnson of Fire District 4 have been in Arizona since Tuesday.  The two are part of a national incident management team which sends aid during disasters.

The men are helping manage the nearly 2,000 people working the fire.  District 4 is also considering sending three more people and a brush engine if needed.

"The people have to commit to being gone for at least 14 days.  So it's a little bit of legwork ahead of time to see if you can get the pre-work to see if you can get the people all arranged and ready to go," said Spokane County Fire District 4 Division Chief Howard Johnson. 
 
Along with helping those miles away, the team hopes to bring back valuable knowledge to Spokane.

"It really does bring it home and help bring that experience when we have that large scale incident," said Johnson.

Officials with Fire District 4 said a big reason they are able to send resources to the fire is because of the slow fire season in the Inland Northwest.

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