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Code 3 Podcast: The ultimate mutual aid: US firefighters in Australia

Rick Young and Scott Orr discuss how US firefighters are aiding in the ongoing Australia wildfires

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Australia has faced wildfires on a massive scale, with more than 25 million acres burned in fires that have raged since September 2019. More than 30 people, including seven firefighters, have been killed. Thousands of homes have been lost.

Those statistics describe a fire the likes of which the United States has never seen. And even though the weather has cooperated with heavy rains, it still hasn’t been enough to fully extinguish the fires.

More than 200 U.S. firefighters traveled to Australia to lend a hand – the ultimate international mutual-aid support. It’s a unique experience, from the landscape to the fuels involved to the culture shock.

In this episode of the Code 3 podcast, Scott Orr speaks with Rick Young, who at the time of the call, was one of the U.S. firefighters sent to Australia to help.

Young is in his 30th fire season for both the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service. He’s a Type 1 Incident Commander for California Interagency Incident Management Team 5. And he’s the Deputy Interagency Fire Chief of Operations for Six Rivers National Forest and Redwood National Park.

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Code 3 is hosted by award-winning journalist Scott Orr, who has covered the fire/EMS/police beat for most of his 30-plus year career in news. He’s worked around the country in both TV and print. Orr was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease over a decade ago, but that doesn’t stop him from interviewing fire service leaders on issues that concern firefighters around the nation.