The Alaska Division of Forestry sent one hundred Alaska firefighters to Utah on Wednesday, to help extinguish a massive wildfire that has spread to more than 8,000 acres since Sunday.
The Shingle Fire is burning in southern Utah and is ten percent contained. Five crews of twenty firefighters from Alaska were briefed and outfitted with gear Tuesday night in Fairbanks, before departing Wednesday morning.
They are expected to be there for the next two weeks, according to Maggie Rogers, information officer with the Alaska Division of Forestry.
"They've seen a lot of extreme fire behavior in the Lower 48. They've been expecting more lightening so it's not only the fire activity that they're currently dealing with, but the continued expected new fire activity," said Rogers.
The group is the second to head south this week to assist the Lower 48 during wildfire season. On Monday, 100 Alaska firefighters left for Wyoming to help fight the Fontenelle Fire, which spans more than 56,000 acres.
Forestry officials say it has been a few years since this many Alaska firefighters were sent to battle blazes outside of the state.
"It was quiet the past few years and this has been the first year since 2008 that they've needed crews," said Rogers.
Officials say at this point, a third group of firefighters has not been ordered to help.