JBLM soldiers training to be firefighters

Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Stryker Brigade Combat Team are learning how to fight wildfires.

After three days of training this week, 200 active duty soldiers will be sent to southern Oregon to help fight the Umpqua North Complex.

They’ll spend the month of September on the fires burning on approximately 30,000 acres of the Umpqua National Forest, east of Roseburg, Oregon.

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The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) requested the help from the Department of Defense.

“We need help,” said Rod Bloms with the NIFC.

“Our brigade, our division, our corps is ready to fight tonight,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Melin, who said the firefighting training and experience could help the soldiers in future deployments.

He said it is also energizing his soldiers.

"I'm excited. I'm glad I finally get to help people,” said Private First Class Dylan Burns. “I've been in the military for about a year, and it's one of the reasons everyone joined.”

Soldiers from JBLM were also sent to fight wildfires during the summer of 2015.