Three strike teams will depart this morning for the 750-mile trek to northern California.

This morning three strike teams of firefighters from Puget Sound area fire departments – Seattle, Vashon Island, Valley RFA, Bothell, Shoreline, Eastside, Snohomish County and Seattle Public Utilities – are leaving this morning to help fight wildfires in northern California. Other teams from around the state may also be participating that aren’t part of these strike teams.

Puget Sound Fire said there will be two Type-1 teams made up of the fire engines and one Type-3 team of wildfire apparatus will meet at the Maytown rest area off I-5, about 13 miles south of Olympia, this morning to begin the 750-mile trip to California. The trek begins at 6 a.m.

There will be four fire apparatus per strike team for a total of 50 firefighters and support personnel. The teams plan on being deployed for 18 days, which includes three to four days of travel.

All the firefighters being deployed are “red card” certified, meaning that they have been trained in wildland firefighting, which is very different than traditional structural firefighting.

According to USA Today, 31 deaths have been reported within the last week, making this the deadliest week for California wildfires in the state’s history. Hundreds are still missing, and at least 3,500 structures have been destroyed.

[Sources: Puget Sound Fire and USA Today]

Dana Neuts

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