SPOKANE, Wash. – A strike team from the Inland Northwest headed south to California to help emergency crews there battle the wildfires that continue to rage across the state.
Crews from Spokane Fire Protection District 8, City of Spokane Fire and Chelan Fire and Rescue left Friday to help fight the fires.
"Our fire season is over so it would really be irresponsible not to answer their request for help," said Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer.
California will pay for the extra man power, as well as for the crew members filling in at the departments here in Washington. But the decision to send firefighters was not just about that.
"Certainly it's the right thing to do from a reciprocal standpoint because California sent a large number of resources to us in 2015 and throughout the last couple years when we had really bad fire season," Schaeffer explained.
Earlier in the week, Washington Department of Natural Resources sent eight engines and 48 crew members.
As of Friday, there were 18 fires burning in nine counties and an estimated 20,000 people are evacuated.
Authorities confirmed there have been at at least 35 deaths in the Northern California wildfires.
The raging fires have destroyed at least 5,700 homes and businesses.