LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A total of 40 Kentucky firefighters will soon board two buses and head west to help with firefighting efforts.
Two 20-person crews of firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and Kentucky Division of Forestry are all heading to Utah. There, they will assist with wildfires in big timber, juniper and grass.
All of the firefighters are volunteering two weeks of their time to help assist with a forest fire emergency. All of them must first pass a physical fitness test, fill out paperwork and pack their supplies.
For Dwayne Anderson, it's been a routine trip he's made for the last 16 years. He says he enjoys the challenge. But after the tragedy in Yarnell, Arizona, where 19 firefighters died while battling a wildfire, Anderson says it's a new issue this year that will be talked about before the volunteers even leave Kentucky.
"That's a definite. Before we leave here today, that will be discussed. Basically not to let your guard down. Make sure look-outs, communications, escape routes are in place and do the best job that we're trained to do," says Dwayne Anderson, a crew boss with the Kentucky Div. of Forestry.
Once crews arrive in Utah, they will likely be assigned to help in multiple locations.
Forestry officials say this group of firefighters are among some of the best and most experienced in the state.