March 10, 2020
“Be assured, the American-Australian firefighting alliance will continue to protect us in times of crisis. Our bipartisan resolution celebrates this enduring partnership… I especially want to thank the 15 firefighters from my home state of Wyoming who assisted Australia.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke on the Senate floor about a bipartisan resolution he and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced to pay tribute to the US-Australia firefighting alliance.
Barrasso specifically highlighted 15 firefighters from Wyoming who traveled to Australia to help fight brush fires there.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to the floor today to honor the alliance that we have between America and Australia.
“Specifically, I want to pay tribute to the partnership that we have in regard to firefighting.
“America’s century-old friendship with Australia has safeguarded two great nations.
“July of 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of our historic victory in the pivotal Battle of Hamel during World War I.
“The Australia-New Zealand-United States Security Treaty came together to cement this military alliance.
“Since that treaty was signed in the Treaty of 1951, we have always supported each other in times of crisis.
“It is this enduring spirit of mutual concern and cooperation and commitment that we celebrate today.
“Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and I have put together a bipartisan resolution paying tribute to our firefighting alliance.
“In recent years, the United States and Australia have suffered some of the hottest, driest weather on record.
“As a result, we’ve seen longer, fiercer wildfire seasons.
“For over 15 years, the two nations have come together to battle some of the most damaging and deadly fires.
“In 2018, more than 100 Australians helped the United States combat wildfires ravaging the West Coast.
“For our part, United States agencies have been sending American firefighters to help the people of Australia.
“These agencies include: the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Most recently, 362 American firefighters helped battle this season’s brutal Australian brush fires.
“These brush fires burned over 30 million acres before the last fires were put out just this month.
“Tragically, three former American service members died in a plane crash fighting the wildfires in Australia.
“One of these heroes – Ian McBeth, of Montana – was actually a member of the Wyoming National Guard.
“Also killed were firefighters Paul Hudson, of Arizona, and Rick DeMorgan, of Florida.
“This resolution honors their ultimate sacrifice.
“It also recognizes the sacrifices of all of the courageous American and Australian firefighters.
“I especially want to thank the 15 firefighters from my home state of Wyoming who assisted Australia: Travis Braten, Anna Cressler, Peter Freire, Kyle Miller, Chris Rankin, Eldred Slagowski, Traci Weaver, Timothy Haas, Richard Howe, Frank Keeler, Robert McConchie, Shane McCormick, Heath Morgan, Rance Neighbors, and Jonathan Ziegler.
“The fact is, America’s firefighters put their lives on the line every day to keep people safe.
“They do it here at home, and they do it when they go abroad.
“This resolution applauds the brave men and women who responded to the Australian people in their hour of need.
“It also promotes the sharing of critical resources, of research and of best practices.
“This will help us prevent and suppress future fires.
“Be assured, the American-Australian firefighting alliance will continue to protect us in times of crisis.
“Our bipartisan resolution celebrates this enduring partnership.”