Two Boone County firefighters sent to Montana

They will assist with fighting wildfires and will train others upon their return.
Monday, August 11, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:19 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Two firefighters were deployed Sunday afternoon by the Boone County Fire Protection District to assist with fighting wildland fires in Montana.

Greg Rush and Kyle Smith will have to adjust to a few things once they arrive in Montana. Rush, a battalion chief, said the lower humidity and steeper terrain in Montana create a different type of fire.

"Plus the high altitude is quite a change," Rush said. "It takes one or two days for the body to adjust."

When Smith and Rush return, they will train the other Boone County firefighters skills learned in Montana, Assistant Chief Ken Hines said.

Rush and Smith are the seventh crew sent during this summer fire season by the Missouri Department of Conservation to aid other wildland fire teams around the country. The exact location has not yet been determined for the crew, but they will be in Montana for at least two weeks.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are eight large active fires in Montana, with about 78,000 damaged acres.

Rush and Smith are red card certified, meaning they are certified by the U.S. Forest Service, and have taken wildland fire safety classes and physical fitness tests.

Rush and Smith were deployed to Colorado last summer in different areas to help with the wildland fires.

Hines said the wildland fire crew is at no cost to the Boone County Fire District because the firefighters are paid by the U.S. Forest Service while on assignment.

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