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US fireys get boots on the ground as they bolster Victorian defences

After hours in the air and two days of training, researching and acclimatising, Justine Gude can’t wait to start ‘‘digging the lines’’ in Victoria’s fire grounds.

She is part of a crew of close to 70 specialists flown in from the Angeles National Forest in the US on Wednesday to continue a half-century tradition of firefighter exchange across the Pacific.

US firefighter Justine Gude is ready to drive on the left.

US firefighter Justine Gude is ready to drive on the left.Credit:Scott McNaughton

‘‘Remembering to stay on the left’’ is just one of challenges facing the US teams, Ms Gude says, who will be on light and heavy machinery clearing fire breaks in the Alpine region with about 50 other Americans, each with unique skill sets.

Another taskforce is heading to Wodonga to integrate with CFA teams fighting the Corryong fire, which is now merging with another massive blaze burning in southern NSW.

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