U.S. Southern Command troops have returned from firefighting duty in Panama’s eastern province of Darién. More than 5,000 acres have burned in the current dry season there and Panamanian officials are investigating reports of fires that were started deliberately. Bounded to the south by Colombia and the west by the Pacific, the province includes a vast wilderness. Last week, the Southern Command deployed 28 troops from Joint Task Force Bravo with two Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks and a Boeing CH-47 Chinook to aid aerial firefighting efforts. Based at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras, the task force conducts joint, combined and interagency operations, and supports contingency operations to enhance theater-wide operational security and reinforce regional cooperation in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.