59ºF

Florida sending more help to fight California fires

Florida forestry crews assist in West Coast firefights

Firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the larger Carr Fire on July 27, 2018, in Redding, California.
Firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the larger Carr Fire on July 27, 2018, in Redding, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As thousands more people in Northern California fled their homes as wildfires surge, Florida is sending more firefighters to help battle raging wildfires in California.

As of Wednesday, the Florida Forest Service had sent 75 firefighters to California, as well as Oregon, to help with the states' massive wildfires.

Wildfires ravaging California have wiped out more than 1,000 homes and killed eight people so far.

Tens of thousands of people were under mandatory evacuation orders because of two blazes in Mendocino and Lake counties. Those fires were among 17 burning across the state, where fire crews were stretched to the limit.

The Florida Forest Service this weekend deployed a 12-member team from North Florida to bring five brush trucks to the effort. The team is expected to arrive in California on Wednesday.

“The intensity of the wildfire activity in California has increased over the last 72 hours causing additional communities to be under imminent threat,” Florida State Forester Jim Karels said in a prepared statement. “We are ready to help protect California in any way we can.”

Florida sent 20 “hand crew” firefighters last week to help suppress a fire in the Sierra National Forest that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimated on Saturday may take two more weeks to fully contain.

As of Wednesday, the fire near Redding, California, had destroyed more than 1,000 homes and is now the sixth-most destructive in state history.