A 16-person National Park of American Samoa crew and crew leader departed on Wednesday from American Samoa for Northern California to fight wildland fires for 30-days.
Once in California, the national park’s fire crew will receive their assignment and work side-by-side with fire crews from across the nation.
Superintendent Scott Burch said, “Our wildland firefighters represent a talented mix of employees from the national park, the American Samoa Government, and local businesses from both Tutuila and Manu’a islands.
“We are proud to send our crew to help protect natural resources and keep communities safe during this severe fire season on the mainland. The skill and dedication of our Samoan crew is well known and very much respected on the mainland and fire crews there are eager for our crew to come join them in their work.”
In partnership with Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, the National Park of American Samoa trains staff and local villagers in the skills required to fight fires at home and within other areas of the United States.
To become wildland firefighters, this crew had to complete rigorous training and pass a demanding written test.
They also had to pass a fitness test that required the firefighters to walk three miles wearing a 45-pound pack in less than 45-minutes. Currently there are 35 fires that have burned over 217,000 acres in Northern California.