A consortium of Linn County firefighters and their vehicles have deployed to California to help battle wildfires there, the Albany Fire Department reports.

The deployment is part of an interstate mutual aid agreement called the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which lets both Oregon and California send crews to each other when the need arises.

Though the agreement, California Gov. Jerry Brown sent firefighters to Oregon in August. Oregon firefighters also deployed to California in October.

The crews, from Albany, Lebanon, Sweet Home, and Tangent, will add 22 firefighters to efforts in Chino, California, where wildfires have destroyed hundreds of homes. As of Wednesday, no deaths and a few injuries have been reported, but hundreds of thousands in the Los Angeles area are under evacuation orders.

In addition to the Linn County deployment, Philomath Fire responded from Benton County with two engines and six firefighters.

The Linn County contingent will comprise one of 10 strike teams requested from across the state. A strike team is a group of five vehicles of the same type, and two fire crews. The Albany Fire Department provided the five brush unit vehicles for the deployment.

All of the firefighters who deployed volunteered, according to Albany Assistant Fire Chief Shane Wooton. The fire crews will remain deployed for an undetermined amount of time.

The state of California will reimburse the various agencies for the deployment, and will also pay the overtime costs for the extra shifts required to fill the gaps during their deployment.

Contact reporter Neil Zawicki at 541-812-6099 or neil.zawicki@lee.net

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