Arizona firefighters heading to California, as state battles deadly wildfires

Massive wildfires are tearing through the state of California, and the Golden State is asking Arizona for help in battling the deadly wildfires.

So far, the fires have taken nearly two dozen lives, and destroyed several thousand homes and businesses.

Now, help is on the way.

The Arizona Department of Forestry is deploying 100 engines, and approximately 400 wildland firefighters to California. Crews from around the state are loading up and heading west, and the first crews to deploy are on their way.

"It was only a matter of time before a call was going to come for resources from Arizona to respond," said Demetri Baca, an engine captain with the Arizona Department of Forestry.

Many are on the road, heading to Northern California.

"We are going to be going out as a strike team of engines," said Baca. "We have 600 gallons of water. We have our fire shelters, six quarts of water, different colored flagging."

They're going into a deadly disaster area. Fires in California have already claimed more than a dozen lives, and burned more than 3,500 structures. So far, more than 500 people are missing, and the flames continue to spread out of control.

"For me, this will be the most catastrophic, considering the amount of homes and deaths involved," said Baca.

The teams have not received their official assignments yet, and they don't know which fire incident they are going to. From previous experience, however, Baca believes the Arizona teams will likely be assigned to structure protection.

Deployed firefighters expect to be in California for about two weeks, but can be asked to stay longer.
 

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