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Some Australian firefighters heading to Okanogan complex blazes

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OKANOGAN, Washington — Help is coming from Down Under to help fight the Okanogan Complex of wildfires, the largest in Washington history.

Sixteen of the Australian firefighters who have arrived in the United States to help battle Western blazes will be assigned to the Okanogan Complex.

Fire spokesman Rick Isaacson says the firefighters will be in north-central Washington on Thursday.

Isaacson says they are mid-level fire managers who will mostly work in support functions, although some may operate bulldozers.

Isaacson says the Australians have similar training programs to U.S. firefighters and he doesn't expect them to have any trouble blending in.

The Okanogan Complex grew up just 1,700 acres overnight and now stands at 403 square miles. Isaacson says there are 1,345 people battling the flames.

PHOTO: Warren Heslip, 47, of Southland, New Zealand, receives a yellow firefighting shirt on Monday, Aug. 24, 2015 at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. Australian and New Zealand firefighters have arrived in the United States and prepared to fan out to help fight wildfires burning in several western states. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)
Warren Heslip, 47, of Southland, New Zealand, receives a yellow firefighting shirt on Monday, Aug. 24, 2015 at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. Australian and New Zealand firefighters have arrived in the United States and prepared to fan out to help fight wildfires burning in several western states. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)

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