Western Fire Crews Get An Assist From Australia And New Zealand : NPR

Firefighters conduct a controlled burn to defend houses against flames from the Ranch Fire, as it continues to spread toward the town of Upper Lake, Calif., last week. Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Firefighters conduct a controlled burn to defend houses against flames from the Ranch Fire, as it continues to spread toward the town of Upper Lake, Calif., last week.

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Resources are wearing thin as wildfires burn in 11 western states. Firefighters are getting an international assist from Australia and New Zealand. Teams from the two countries spent the weekend in Idaho training before being deployed to the West Coast to battle flames in California, Oregon and Washington.

Before they hit the fire lines, the 140-member team got an orientation and some last-minute training at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

Across the western U.S., fires are burning on roughly 1.6 million acres. The National Preparedness Level is at five the highest the index goes. That means there's a high level of wildfire activity across the country and that many resources have been committed to fight fires. Level 5 also lets fire managers call in help from the military and abroad. The last time firefighters were b....

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