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Mount Vernon fire crew helping fight California wildfires

Smoke continues to billow in the hills behind Napa, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. With the winds dying down, fire officials said Sunday they were finally getting the upper hand against the wildfires that have devastated California wine country and other parts of the state over the past week, and thousands of people got the all-clear to return home.
Smoke continues to billow in the hills behind Napa, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. With the winds dying down, fire officials said Sunday they were finally getting the upper hand against the wildfires that have devastated California wine country and other parts of the state over the past week, and thousands of people got the all-clear to return home. AP

A four-person crew from the Mount Vernon Fire Department has been sent to help battle wildfires in northern California.

Chief Bryan Brice said the crew left Friday morning for Napa, California.

“Our crews are there to help any way they can,” Brice said.

The Mount Vernon crew was requested by the state of California, Brice said, and the Mount Vernon department will be reimbursed for personnel, travel and equipment costs, as well as wear and tear on the fire engine that has been sent down.

“We’re able to assist the state of California, which I think is a great use of resources,” Brice said. “It just shows that when we start sharing our resources, we don’t have to do (everything) alone.”

The request for assistance from Washington crews speaks to the severity of the situation, Brice said.

“It’s a common practice when the magnitude gets to that,” he said. “That’s where you start really drawing down the state’s resources.”

Brice said the crew will work a 24-hour shift, then have a 24-hour period off. They will continue that schedule for up to 16 days.

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