Right-Wing Militiamen Open Fire On Australian Firefighters Battling US Wildfires: Report
A new report has revealed that two Australian firefighters helping fight wildfires in the United States were shot at by two suspected militiamen who were hunting in Washington state.
According to The Age, the incident took place on August 23 where two Australian and two local officers were shot at by two hunters. This led “to demands for local fire services to upgrade security and guarantee the safety of the crew.”
Armed stand-offs between federal officers in the US, including the Bureau of Land Management, have increased over recent years following the 2014 Bundy standoff between backers of cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management, which led to a number of criminal charges being laid.
Bundy’s son, Ammon, was the leader of the 2016 Oregon incident at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, with the armed militants claiming the federal government had no authority over public lands.
Law enforcement eventually arrested 27 militants.
The two hunters have been arrested since the incident.
The Age reported that “Nearly 80 Australian firefighters have been working with the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in northern California, Oregon and Washington since July, and were dispatched to the popular White Pass ski destination in August after a fire spread across an eight square kilometre area.”
“We are aware of the incident which occurred in August involving one of our firefighters, and we are happy the matter was dealt with by authorities in country,” an RFS spokesman told Fairfax Media.
The Australian crew returned home on Saturday where Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant welcomed them and did not mention the Washington state incident.
“These men and women put their lives on hold to go and support their international counterparts,” he said.
“It really is testament to their selflessness and professionalism, and I thank every one of them for their incredible dedication and service.”
The entire report can be read HERE.