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PA firefighters head to Alaska to help battle wildfires - abc27 WHTM

PA firefighters head to Alaska to help battle wildfires

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) -

Some 20 firefighters from across Pennsylvania met in Middletown Friday afternoon in preparation for a little trip out west.

They'll be going to Alaska because—believe it or not—they were one of the closest companies available. There have just been so many other fires raging around the country.

"There's always an adrenaline rush with this," said Rick Deppen, Assistant Forest Manager with the Colonial Penn Forest District. "When you get that call up and knowing that you're going to get utilized and go somewhere like Alaska."

Wayne Martin of Montgomery County has been to Alaska to fight wildfires before. He says there are going to be some long days.

"Your camp can be quite a ways away," he said. "So by the time you get back in, get re-supplied for the next day, it's usually about a 16 hour day."

Adam Kling of Duncannon is also making the trip. What's he expecting?

"I'm not sure. I've never been to Alaska," he said. "So I'm not really sure what to expect, but I'm looking forward [to it], hopefully we can get a lot of good, hard work done for them and make a good impression for Pennsylvania."

These guys told us they love their jobs, but they get extra motivation from the support they receive from the community.

Martin was in Colorado Springs last year to fight those wildfires, and the residents saluted them daily.

"Every morning when we came and went from the fire, they were rallied on the street," said Martin. "It was like we were on parade every day. And it was really something to feel. It was very powerful."

"The biggest thrill is when you walk through an airport," said Deppen. "They see you in green and yellow...people stopping and thanking you."

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