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Michigan DNR firefighters to help with Calif. fires

The Associated Press

Lansing – A team of Michigan wildlands firefighters is heading to California to help put out fires that have been burning across the state.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said 20 firefighters left Wednesday and will be gone through early January. They will be on standby in the Sequoia National Forest.

Humboldt County firefighter Bobby Gray, left, hoses down smoldering flames inside a destroyed home as Kellee Stoehr, right, looks on after the Thomas Fire burned on Dec. 17, 2017, in Montecito, Calif.

The team includes 13 Michigan DNR firefighters. Seven others are from Michigan’s Bureau of Indian Affairs.

DNR Fire Section Manager Jim Fisher says the team could replace crews at fire stations or help with projects that local departments can’t get done while their crews are out. They also could be assigned to fight any fires still burning.

Fisher says Michigan will be reimbursed for expenses to send the teams.

The fires have burned more than 270,000 acres since early December.