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Arizona firefighters, National Guard head to fight West Coast wildfires

Red Salmon Complex Fire. (InciWeb Photo)

PHOENIX – More than 250 Arizona firefighters and National Guard members have been sent to help fight wildfires burning in California, Oregon and Colorado.

More than 220 fire personnel from the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management and hotshot crews from the U.S. Forest Service were assigned to fires across the West Coast.

Additionally, there are 42 pieces of equipment, including 36 engines and six water tenders, supporting active fires.

“California started popping fires earlier than normal and has not yet reached the peak of their season,” DFFM Fire Management Officer John Truett said in a press release. “As we receive orders for California and other states, we continue to assess them and mobilize resources on a case by case basis.”

Thirty citizen-soldiers from the Arizona National Guard will also head to California to help fight the wildfires, according to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. Their initial support will be for two weeks, which include three Black Hawk helicopters equipped with fire suppression capabilities.

More than one million acres have burned in Oregon and more than 3.3 million acres have been destroyed in California in recent weeks in wildfires.

Arizona firefighters have been in California since the end of July when lightning spark multiple wind-driven wildfires.

Arizona has had an usually long fire season itself. Nearly 900,000 acres have burned across the state with the monsoon largely failing to materialize.

Truett said Arizona remains fully-staffed on fire personnel despite lending personnel to California and Oregon.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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