California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday requested aid from Canada and Australia firefighters as the state struggles to contain the raging wildfires that have killed six people and forced thousands to flee from their homes.
“We also have reached out across the border, into Canada for resources and support,” Newsom said at a media conference. “And many of you up here recall it was 2017, the support we were provided and the support we provided in turn, of some of the best wildfire firefighters from Australia. We also have a request out for that talent as well.”
Global News reached out to Global Affairs asking if Canada has responded to the request, but did not hear back as of the time of publication.
Wildfires sparked by lightning in Northern California exploded in size Friday, some becoming largest in state history, destroying hundreds of homes and other structures. In addition to the fatalities, 43 firefighters and civilians have been hurt.
The wildfires started last week, and now more than 12,000 firefighters — with the help of helicopters and air tankers — are stretched thin across the state trying to battle the blazes.
Three groups of fires, called complexes, burning north, east and south of San Francisco have together scorched 72,020 square kilometres.
More than 140,000 people are under evacuation orders in the state.
Newsom said crews were fighting 560 fires across the state.
“We are not naive by any stretch about how deadly this moment is and why it is essential … that you heed evacuation orders and that you take them seriously,” Newsom said.
Firefighters and residents in the state have also been pleading for support.
South of San Fransico in the Santa Cruz mountains, wildfires have forced some 48,000 residents to flee their dwellings.
A CalFire spokesperson told the Associated Press that crews are working 72-hour shifts in order to save homes in the Santa Cruz area.
“We’re still understaffed for a fire of this size,” the CalFire spokesperson said.
San Jose State University professor Scott Myers-Lipton took to Twitter asking Newsom to help save the Santa Cruz mountains
“We need HELP in the Santa Cruz mountains. SEND IN THE NATIONAL GUARD NOW!” Myers-Lipton tweeted.
— With files from the Associated Press and Reuters