CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tim Casto said he was a little tired when he got back from Montana last week.
It was something of an understatement. Casto, a firefighter with the West Virginia Division of Forestry, had just spent two weeks helping battle one of Montana's largest summer wildfires.
"The area we were in was rugged terrain, really steep and rocky," recalled Casto, boss of a crew of 20 firefighters called on to fight the Emigrant fire near Livingston, Mont.
"It was kind of tough working conditions."
Casto's crew -- 10 firefighters from the West Virginia Division of Forestry, five from volunteer fire departments around the state and five from neighboring Pennsylvania -- were dispatched to Montana on Aug. 19.
The Emigrant fire, named for a nearby peak and located in the mountainous portion of the Gallatin National Forest south of Livingston, had been burning since July 21, thought to have been caused by a lightning strike. When they got to Montana, Casto and his team were put to work trying to thwart the 11,000-acre wildfire.
"You help them with whatever they want you to do," Casto said.
Casto and his crew spent their days hiking up steep slopes as high as 8,000 feet, he said. At one point, they had to be airlifted to a mountaintop site that was too far away to walk.
The crew spent two weeks in the forest at different base camps.