30 Jun 2008

American Samoan firefighters to join efforts in US

11:15 am on 30 June 2008

The United States Forest Service is again calling up fire fighters in American Samoa to help put out raging forest fires on the US west coast.

They will join fire fighters in California.

More than 1,000 wildfires continued to burn in the States, and its Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has called on President Bush to declare a federal emergency in the state.

Around 107,000 hectares of tinder-dry forest and parkland have burnt across northern California since the fires erupted on June 20.

Mino Malua of the National Park of American Samoa is leading the group of 15 which leaves on Tuesday.

"For the last couple of weeks we have done training and a refresher course, so now we are on call to fight fires in California for 21 days. My concern is the safety of our guys."

Last October, devastating wildfires were among the worst in California history, leaving eight people dead, destroying 2,000 homes, displacing 640,000 people and causing $1 billion US dollars in damage.