Hundreds of soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma are set to leave early Monday morning to help battle wildfires in northern California.
On Sunday, active duty soldiers received last-minute training on base before heading to the front lines.
“The dangers are different you have flame fronts you have big trees that could possibly come down at any time,” said Adam Edgington, a firefighter with the Bureau of Land Management.
His mission on Sunday was to transform hundreds of active duty JBLM soldiers, most from the 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion, into firefighters.
With training underway, 200 soldiers were expected to ship out to northern California on Monday.
There are currently 105 large wildfires burning across the western U.S. and more than 3.8 million acres have burned this year, according to a statement from the USDA Forest Service on Friday. Officials say above-normal fire activity is occurring in northern California, Arizona, Colorado and several other states.
Local firefighters and resources are pushed to the limit.
“You can see how tired folks are. You are can see that they're spread thin, but they're doing their job," a CalFire spokesperson told NBC News.
As many as 500 active fires raging through Northern California. To date more than 60 thousand people remain evacuated – relief can’t come sooner.
“I think it’s a lot of new, but soldiers, in general, are good at adapting to these situations,” Sgt. Thomas Jackson said.
This will Jackson’s second stint fighting fires as a solider. - the first was in 2018 . This week, he starts a month-long deployment in northern California. It's a mission that truly hits home for him.
“To be a part of a mission where you're not only helping out your own country but your helping out the local area where you grew up is, you know, humbling,” he said.
Jackson and his fellow soldiers will join some 16,000 firefighters all trying to stop the spread of wildfires that have already claimed so much.