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US firefighters arrive in Australia to help with bush fires

AUSTRALIA – Firefighters from the United States arrived in Sydney Monday to assist their Australian colleagues battling wildfires that have ravaged the country.

Nationwide, at least 25 people have been killed and 2,000 homes destroyed by the blazes, which have so far scorched an area twice the size of Maryland.

Rain has started to fall, but not across all fire-affected areas and not enough to douse the fires, and is creating new difficulties.

“The current situation is it’s extreme. You know that there’s a lot of people that have been at it for since September and October through November and stuff," said Tony Demasters, a US firefighter." So, people are tired, and so we’re here to actually relieve and try to lend a hand and give those folks the rest that they direly need. So, it is an extreme situation.”

“There has been a tremendous amount of concern in the united states amongst the public and amongst the US government about what is happening here. We have had an ongoing agreement between the United States and Australia to assist with these types of fires for many, many years,” said Sharon Hudson-Dean, the UC Consul General in Sydney. "Australia has come to our aid many times and now we are happy that our folks have stepped up very eagerly to assist with this crisis.”