KALISPELL — Firefighting teams from Montana have been called to help battle wildfires that are forcing evacuations, closing freeways and burning homes in southern California.
Flathead County Fire Warden Lincoln Chute says California requested 50 strike teams from six different states. Montana sent a total of three strike teams with 15 engines and 55 people from 14 agencies.
Six firefighters from Evergreen and two trucks were preparing to leave Wednesday. Crews and engines from Marion, Whitefish and Bigfork also were leaving.
The Missoula Fire Department was sending two engines.
Missoula Rural Fire Capt. Michael Bowman says teams will be in California for two weeks. He says it's nice to be able to give back after teams from all over the country helped fight fires during Montana's record fire season this summer.
Paul Finlay, Missoula Rural Fire's assistant chief, said that agency sent one engine with three people, who left Wednesday.
Missoulian reporter Dillon Kato contributed to this story.