SPOKANE, Wash. — The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) announced they have sent more than 200 employees to help combat wildfires across the west over the past couple of months.
Working alongside Timber Protective Associations, IDL sent approximately 221 people to help those in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Alaska, California, Washington, Arizona, Montana and Wyoming.
Currently, only 46 employees are deployed.
Employees have also been sent to help the Forest Service and Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho.
“Deploying our firefighters does two things. Our firefighters, especially new firefighters, have gained experience and training and are ready for our local fire season,” State Forester Craig Foss said in a statement. “It also shows our western partners our commitment to help when they are in need so that they reciprocate in our time of need.”
According to a press release, IDL pays the wages and expenses for staff, firefighting equipment and local firefighters while on off-district assignments. Those wages and expenses are then reimbursed by the jurisdictions and federal government agency responsible for protection against wildfires.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little said the state is "proud to help neighbors fight fires across the west" and that assisting other states with their fires will help build positive relationships.
It helps take some of the financial burden off Idaho taxpayers because other states and federal agencies pay for the salaries and the experience gained by our deployed firefighters early in the season," Little said in a statement.
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