INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Aug. 18, 2015)— Firefighters and conservation officers from all across the country are joining the military to fight wildfires out west, including several from right here in central Indiana.
About 95 wildfires are destroying hundreds of homes and more than a million acres in ten Western states, including Oregon, California and Colorado.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, about 200 active soldiers will help battle blazes. This is the first time the military's fought wildfires since 2006.
Indiana Conservation officer Angie Goldman is on the front lines, helping firefighters battle the Collier Buete fire in southern Oregon.
"It is so dry out here. Every spark is starting another wildfire. Fire activity out here in the West is at an all time high," Goldman said.
Goldman is on special assignment acting as a public information officer for firefighters and residents in the area. The DNR has 13 staff members deployed to help.
"The national landscape of fire is incredible right now. We are at planning level 5. There are so many fires we don`t have the resources to fill them anymore," explained Goldman.
Hundreds of miles south of Goldman in California at the Sierra National Forrest, Mike Pruitt with the Wayne Township Fire Department is also there to help first responders stay informed.
"It is round the clock from California all the way up to Oregon. It is a massive operation. Logistically it is an amazing operation as to how they attack these fires," Pruitt said.
Pruitt says he stepped away from his family to be here to serve and to learn how to prepare for natural disasters in Indiana.
"There is a huge benefit not only here to help but bringing back tons of knowledge to bring back to our own Hoosier state," he said.
The assignments for both Pruitt and Goldman are about 16 days long, including travel.
If you want to help those impacted by the wildfires out west, click here for information from the American Red Cross.