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Phoenix firefighters sent to Georgia to help with Hurricane Irma aftermath

Several members from the Phoenix Fire Department's Arizona Task Force 1 search and rescue team after assisting with Harvey cleanup. (Twitter photo/@PhxFire)

PHOENIX — A group of Phoenix firefighters has been sent to Georgia to assist with cleanup and rescue efforts from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Arizona Task Force 1, an 80-member urban search and rescue unit from the Phoenix Fire Department, will be positioned in Albany, Georgia, to assist with Irma duty.

The team was one of several positioned in Georgia by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Members spent Wednesday in Shreveport, Louisiana, after leaving San Antonio, Texas.

The task force went to Texas last month to help with the response to Hurricane Harvey, where they rescued 17 adults and children and four pets who were flooded from their homes in Katy, Texas.

Hurricane Irma is expected to hit landfall in Florida by the weekend, with forecasters warning that it could slam into the Miami metropolitan area, punish the length of the state’s Atlantic coast and move into Georgia and South Carolina.

The hurricane has already devastated a string of Caribbean islands and left at least 11 people dead and thousands more homeless.

People in Florida rushed to board up their homes, take their boats out of the water and gas up their cars. With gasoline running out and tensions rising, the Florida Highway Patrol escorted tanker trucks sent to replenish gas stations.

“It is wider than our entire state and could cause major and life-threatening impacts from coast to coast. Regardless of which coast you live on, be prepared to evacuate,” Gov. Rick Scott said.

Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, said Irma could easily prove to be the costliest storm in U.S. history.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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