SWATARA TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — Wildfires in the Western part of the country continue to take a major toll.
A team of 20 Midstate firefighters will fly to Montana early Wednesday morning to replace the current team from Pennsylvania that’s already there.
Firefighters say this is a big job.
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“We can end up in Idaho, we can stay in Montana, we could go up to Oregon. Once we get out there we can get assigned a resource order,” Matthew Bardzilouskas, crew leader and trainee said.
Firefighters along with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resource workers will make their way to Missoula, Montana to help with the ongoing wildfires.
In Tuesday’s mobilization meeting, crew leaders say the number one goal is safety.
“I want to make sure people that want training get trained. I want to get new guys experience, and I just want to make sure we all do our jobs safely and everyone gets home safe,” Bardzilouskas said.
The mission can come with challenges from keeping up morale after long hours to being far away from loved ones.
“You know, you’re away from your family for a couple of weeks, so if you have some guys that haven’t been on an assignment like this, the new guys that aren’t accustomed. That can be challenging to overcome,” firefighter Ben Carlson said.
This team will replace the current crew taking on the wildfires that have been going on for the past few weeks.
Firefighters say it’s important to step in when help is needed.
“It’s the urge to help you know. If you can make some sort of difference, you get to see some parts of the country that some people may never get to see,” Carlson said.
“It gives Pennsylvania a pretty good reputation. To be able to go out there and assist with other resources, especially with other states. I want to give back to the program and keep it going,” Bardzilouskas said.
This crew will be helping with these wildfires for the next two weeks.