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Coronado National Forest Aviation Officer assisting in Australia

Posted at 3:24 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 21:48:59-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Dozens of people from the United States are in Australia to battle those flames including a firefighter from Tucson.

It's a widespread disaster on a scope and scale Australia has never seen.

“The scale is so large there is not enough resources to manage and suppress those fires, and that's why they are bringing in support from the United States,” said Coronado National Forest Fire Management Officer Steven Miranda.

Miranda says it didn't take long before one of his firefighters volunteered to help with the efforts there.

“When the request came from our regional office within seconds he was in my office saying that he wanted to go.”

Aviation Officer Sean Cox has had special training desperately needed in New South Wales.

He flies above the fires for a bird's eye view so he can direct and coordinate attacks from the air and the ground.

“Fixed wing airplane, helicopters, anything that flies, UAS or drones, anything that flies Sean is overseeing that.”

Cox and other Americans are expected to fight fires in Australia for 30 days.

“They are working 16 to 18 hours a day, everyday.”

Miranda says cox exhibits the qualities and character he expects from all his firefighters and Cox is always ready to make a personal sacrifice.

“He’s able to sacrifice. Many of our firefighters sacrifice, and in Seans case with this particular dispatch he missed Christmas with his family.”

Miranda says for cox making the 16 hour flight and working long grueling days fighting fires wasn't even a question.

“He sees that there is a need and it would be hard for him to sit back and let something like that occur when he can help.”

Parts of Australia got some much-needed rain yesterday but officials say they expect the brushfires to keep growing -- as temperatures climb heading into the weekend.