Northwest Fire to deploy crew to California

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Northwest Fire District is lending a hand to battle the raging California wildfires that have left 29 dead and more than 400 missing.

According to department representative Brian Keeley, a type 3 wildland engine with four firefighters and a strike team leader will leave at 3 p.m. from Northwest Fire Station 36 at 13475 N. Marana Main Street.

Chris Dawson is one of those firefighters headed to Napa. He explained his team will be gone for about two weeks, but possibly more.

"A couple of days, to 14 days, up to 21 days if we extend," he said. "Depending on how long they need us out there for."

Dawson said along with a lot of physical preparation, this is an event that requires a lot of mental preparation. He's seen his fair share of fires, but this one has a bit of a different feel, he said.

"I've seen fires spread like this before," Dawson said. "But as far as devastation and the houses that were lost, I haven't seen anything like that before."

The crew that's going comes with years of experience.

"This crew we've got going out right now, we're all pretty seasoned guys," Dawson said. "Definitely isn't our first rodeo going through it. My driver operator Mark has been with him -- I think we were counting on the way down here together -- sixty something fires together."

Green Valley Fire District is also sending a crew.

On Wednesday morning, they received a call from Cal Fire asking for help, and by Wednesday afternoon, a team was on the way to Napa.

Pratt expects the team of three wildland firefighters will be gone for two weeks, helping out however they can. They're equipped with special wildland fire clothing and gear designed for these situations, different than traditional fire equipment and clothing.

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