National Guard Deployed to Help Fight Fires Across California

MATHER -- Over the weekend the California National Guard deployed six Blackhawk helicopters to help fight fires for the state of California.

The helicopters will be used for water drops and reconnaissance when needed. Three of those helicopters came from Mather Field in the Sacramento area.

But the National Guard also deployed 350 guardsmen from the Burbank area who have been stationed for the last few days at Camp Roberts in the Central Valley for training

Cal Fire says they have yet to determine where those guardsmen will end up. The decision will be made soon after their training is complete.

"What they will do is get along some Cal Fire instructors and they will actually learn how to use pick axes and shovels," California National Guard Sergeant Will Martin said.

There are currently 23 significant fires burning across the state, and 9,000 firefighters are battling those fires.

Cal Fire says there have been 1,200 more fires so far this year than there were this time last year.

Because of the particularly wet winter, Cal Fire says more grass has grown. All of that grass and brush has now dried out, which they anticipate will make for a very active September and October fighting fires in California.

In September 2015, the Valley Fire raged through Lake and Napa counties and is now one of the top fires in California history, proving big fires can start late in the year.