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Arizona firefighters travel to California to battle wine country wildfires

Fire from a distant mountain burns over a small fire in Kenwood, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. Some of the largest blazes in Northern California were in Napa and Sonoma counties, home to dozens of wineries that attract tourists from around the world. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

PHOENIX — A group of Arizona firefighters traveled to California in an attempt to battle the 22 wildfires that are burning through much of the state’s wine country, killing at least 21 people and destroying an estimated 3,500 homes and businesses.

In a press release on Wednesday, the state Department of Forestry and Fire Management announced it is sending 55 engines and 150 firefighters to be used as strike teams for structure protection and assist with the wildfires in Santa Rosa and Napa Valley.

The statement did not specify when the firefighters and engines would be deployed, but in a tweet on Wednesday, the Daisy Mountain Fire Department said it was on its way to Napa Valley.

On Thursday, four firefighters from the Scottsdale Fire Department also headed to Napa to “assist in fighting the deadly wildfires,” the department announced in a Tweet.

The lead agency for processing resource requests is the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, which processes them through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

The request goes to DEMA first, then it is shared with response agencies statewide. Once the resource is identified, the requesting state confirms the request and the resource is deployed.

Arizona State Forester Jeff Whitney said the state is “always ready to lend a hand wherever we are needed and we will provide as much equipment and fire personnel as possible.”

In a statement, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey reiterated Whitney’s point, saying “we are proud to support our neighboring state with vital response resources to enhance fire suppression efforts.”

This is not the first time that first responders from Arizona have been deployed to assist in cleanup efforts after natural disasters.

Arizona Task Force One, a search-and-rescue team from the Phoenix Fire Department, were sent to Texas after Hurricane Harvey and Georgia after Hurricane Irma.

The 20-member Arizona Incident Management Team was also sent to Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma.

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