Bay Area Firefighters Help Fight Northern California Wildfires

Bay Area firefighters are rushing to the front lines of some of the 14 fires burning in Northern California.

A slew of Bay Area fire agencies are helping to battle the wildfires, including fire crews from Santa Clara and Alameda Counties.

In San Jose, fire crews took off Sunday evening--heading north.

"It’s early August. In California, historically, the wildland season really gets going in September and October," San Jose Fire Department Cpt. Mike Van Elgort said.

With more than a dozen fires burning in Northern and Central California, their exact destination has not been determined yet.

"In this case, the engines that are in this strike team are your normal, municipal structure protection type of engines that we would use to fight a house fire," Van Elgort said.

But even with this equipment, Bay Area fire crews could help in other ways, as local, state and federal crews try to battle fires raging during the state’s ongoing drought. The situation prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to issue a state of emergency.

"The state of emergency is actually a good thing," Alameda County Fire Department spokesman Chuck Palmer said. "It helps us to get financial obligations from the federal government, so it’s opening the doors and hopefully help other finances come in. In addition to that, it also helps getting the military to provide personnel, apparatus and equipment, for example."

Alameda County has already sent out strike teams. Agencies said they backfill with personnel and reserve equipment to stay 100 percent staffed in the Bay Area.

But near the fire lines, crews keep fighting.

"When we get there, we’re going to do whatever it takes," Palmer said.

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