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NH's own fire team ready, if called
Toni Tennille cries as she listens to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer speak during a news conference at Prescott High School in Prescott, Arizona July 1, 2013. Fire investigators in central Arizona launched a probe on Monday into how wind-driven flames closed in on and killed 19 specially trained firemen in a tragedy that marked the greatest loss of life among firefighters in a U.S. wildland blaze in 80 years. (REUTERS/Joshua Lott)
"They've been available since last Wednesday in the national dispatch system, and have not been called as of this morning," Dodge said Monday. "But it's always possible that they could be."
Arizona's Granite Mountain Hotshots are a Type One wildfire containment team also known as an interagency hotshot crew, Dodge said. They are organized full-time, and operate exclusively as a wildland fighting crew trained to hike deep into the fire zone with heavy tools to cut down brush and destroy other sources of fuel for the fire.
They come from the ranks of full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters from throughout the state, said Dodge. Most of them have full-time jobs as firefighters for municipal departments, or in the case of volunteers, in the private sector.
The New Hampshire unit is posted as "available" on the National Dispatch Database, even though the distance involved means they are not likely to be called. "They try to fill these needs with the closest available resources," Dodge said, "but you never know. In 2009 five crews from New England left Manchester to fight fires in Alaska because it was less expensive to fly them across the continent than to drive 100 firefighters from the Pacific Northwest."
He said a contingent of New Hampshire firefighters would likely travel to Arizona for the funerals, unless the families involved choose more private services.
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