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Arizona veterans helping reduce wildfire risks

Arizona veterans helping reduce wildfire risks
Posted at 3:37 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 15:37:15-04

COTTONWOOD, Ariz. — A veteran-owned small business based out of Cottonwood is doing its part in reducing the wildfire risk in Arizona.

Verde Earth Technologies, or V.E.T.S., works on habitat restoration and conservation projects across the state.

This past year, the company has cleared out bark beetle infestations in the Hualapai Mountains, removed invasive plants along the Verde River, and created fuel breaks near homes in Apache Junction.

Chris Young, a former U.S. Navy sailor who served in Iraq for 10 years, says the men who work on the projects are disabled, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD.

For the veterans, being outside, helping their community, and continuing to serve, gives them a sense of peace.

"All the guys have their own connection to the planet and why they're out here wanting to do it," Young said. "Definitely stewardship and conservancy are probably at the forefront for it all, so it allows us to sleep a little better at night."

Verde Earth Technologies is looking for future conservation projects along with hiring veterans to help manage and restore habitats.

For more information on V.E.T.S., click here.

This story was originally published by Jorge Torres at KNXV.