KY teams deploy west to fight forest fires

Firefighters from KY helping fight massive CA wildfires
Updated: Jul. 31, 2018 at 10:03 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky firefighters have joined thousands of others attempting to stop the deadly California wildfires.

Teams from the Kentucky State Division of Forestry are currently battling fires on the edge of Yosemite National Park.

"They're right in the areas where fire has been and they're in a very close proximity to the active fire," Kentucky Fire Management Chief Brandon Howard said.

Howard described long days of oppressive heat, rough terrain and breathing air thick with smoke. He said teams are working 16 hours a day and sleeping in tents. Howard also said Kentucky firefighters are in an unfamiliar environment.

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"They have to be very aware of their surroundings," Howard said. "The tree heights are much higher than what we deal with in Kentucky."

He added: "The fires will just take off and explode. They'll climb by thousands and thousands of acres at a time."

The Kentucky team is on a two week rotation in California. There is a total of 49 Kentucky firefighters currently deployed to five western states.

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