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N.M. to expand use of veterans in fighting wildfires

Aug. 5, 2013 - 08:21AM   |  
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Gov. Susana Martinez says her administration plans to expand a program next year that uses military veterans as firefighters during the wildfire season.

The governor said she will ask the Legislature for money to hire 60 veterans for firefighting hand crews.

The state started a pilot program this year with nearly 40 military veterans joining roughly 250 seasonal firefighters typically hired by New Mexico.

Martinez said last week the program has been successful and she wants to make it permanent.

Crews of military veterans were dispatched to more than a dozen fires in New Mexico, including the Tres Lagunas fire near Pecos and the Silver fire in southern New Mexico. Two crews also have been sent to assist with fires in Oregon.

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