Canadian Fire Rangers Assist in Lolo Mop Up - News, Sports and Weather

Canadian Fire Rangers Assist in Lolo Mop Up

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Firefighters mopping up on the Lolo Creek Complex received some international aid this week, when 100 "firerangers" from Ontario, Canada arrived on the fire lines.

Fire Operations Tech Nick Edey said he's realized the nature of fighting wildfire is essentially the same across international borders.

Edey said, "You know, camping in the bush, begin dirty, begin really flexible with the way fire goes and how things change quickly…"

But, Ontario crew members said there are some key differences between fighting fire in Montana and back at home in Canada.

Edey said, "Just for starters, the terrain, we're flat country, lots of water…"

"The weather's a lot hotter here, I find, when we were up at the top, the air is a lot thinner, so it's harder to breathe," added Ontario crew member Irene Marszowski.

Marszowski said she's had to drink a lot more water than she's used to while on mop up duty in Lolo.

"Hiking up those hills all day is absolutely crazy, you feel so accomplished at the end of the day like you've done so much exercise, and you're super hungry, too, and they've been feeding us really well!" she said.

Ontario firerangers wear red fire protection gear, and steel-toed boots, which local fire officials said they had to switch out, because steel can heat up quickly upon contact with fire.

"We do pumps and hose, here, you guys do a lot more hand-tooling, dry mop up, so that's a big difference for the crews, it definitely took them a few days to get their legs under them with this high terrain, but I think we got 'er," Edey said.

But, the Ontario firerangers have worked side-by-side with local fire crews with the same goal of stomping out all remaining hot spots on the fire perimeter.

Marszowski said, "I really like it here, this is the first time I've been in the states, and this is my first year being a firefighter and I've just loved being here every minute."

"It's nice working with everybody and I think we're getting along really well, and we're trying to take our tactics with your tactics and make it work out here," added Edey.

Canadian crews will stay on the Lolo fires as long as needed. Fire officials said they expect to reach full containment of the fire on September 3.

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