DOVER AND CLARKSVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) --Out-of-state fire crews are helping Arkansas battle this summer's major wave of wildfires. They've come from almost 10 states, as far away as California and Virginia.
They're sharpening their tools and heading out. They are out of state fire crews on the way to help Arkansas fight our wildfires.
"We've been in Arkansas about seven days," Oscar Montijo said.
Oscar Montijo is superintendent of the August Hot Shots from Virginia. His team is getting up-close and personal with the wildfires.
"For example, yesterday it was an hour hike into the fire and as soon as they got there, they began with hand tools and chainsaws constructing hand lines," Montijo said.
His crew is also burning ground fuels to keep the fires from spreading, and he's happy to lend a hand.
"We're always proud to help with the United States Forest Service. It's our mission," Montijo said.
From Dover, we traveled west to Clarksville where we found a helping hand working these fires from above: a helicopter from a crew based at the Angeles National Forest in Southern California.
"To fill the tank to its full capacity, it takes roughly 45 seconds," assistant manager Captain Ruben Perez said.
It's a quick fill-up for the "Angeles Helitack" team. Captain Ruben Perez says they've dropped close to 20,000 gallons of water on Arkansas wildfires so far.
"It's our job and we love to travel and assist different states, it's a really good situation for us," Perez said.
It's a situation that also includes flying ground crews to wildfires and some Arkansas coaching for these Californians, handling new wildfire territory.
"The people of Arkansas have really helped us all out as well as their ground crews," Perez said.
It's some appreciation for the Natural State, appreciating this help during a busy summer of wildfires.
Officials with the U.S. Forest Service based here in Arkansas say this is huge help given the duration of our drought conditions this summer. They are rotating these out of state crews about every two weeks. They say that helps ensure everyone fighting these fires can get enough rest.