Area firefighters head out to help down in California - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Area firefighters head out to help down in California

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KENNEWICK, WA - Firefighters from our area are stepping up; hoping to lend a hand to California firefighters.

Reporter Mackenzie Allen was in Kennewick as dozens of our firefighters hit the road this morning on their way to Sonoma County.

Crews will be gone 18 days: 14 days on the ground in Napa, plus 4 days of travel there and back. And as one fire captain told us, there's nowhere else they'd rather be.

A dramatic sight this morning as fire crews from Kennewick, Richland, Benton and Franklin Counties, and Walla Walla got set to drive more than 700 miles to Napa, California.

"This is what we do every day and this is the way we're wired, this is what we want to be doing and it's harder to sit here and not help than it is to get in our trucks and go down there," said Captain Rusty Bachman with the Kennewick Fire Department. 

In total, more than 40 departments from across Washington are sending crews. This is the farthest our guys have driven in about a decade, but they have plenty of experience working in situations like this.

"We've sent resources to hurricane recovery, we sent resources to the world trade center for the recovery effort at ground zero, we've sent people out to wildland fires during the season every year," Captain Bachman said.

As far as what to expect once they arrive? That's anybody's guess.

"We're going equipped to do anything; from wildland firefighting, structural fire fighting, structural protection...we could end up in part of a recovery effort down there, we don't know what to expect at this point." 

But it seems safe to say the people of Napa are in good hands.

If any of our viewers want to follow along with how our local firefighters are doing, we'll be sharing updates to our Facebook page.

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