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Local firefighters return home from fighting Northern California blazes

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Local firefighters return home from fighting Northern California blazes

By Rikki Mitchell. CREATED Aug 13, 2014

THREE POINTS, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - After a 16-hour drive from Northern California, four local firefighters returned back to their station in Three Points Wednesday and started unpacking.

But in two days, they could be right back on the road.

"Just go home, do your laundry, get everything re-packed and ready to go, have it waiting by the door so that way when the phone rings, we're gone," said Firefighter Harry Neuhaus.

This crew helped fight two different fires in Northern California, one near Yosemite and one near Redding. Both fires required evacuations of the surrounding areas.

They were gone for a total of 18 days.

"Lots of ash and then lots of work," said Firefighter Chris Ader. "We helped out the hand crews with burn operations with the engine and just helping out wherever we could."

The second fire they responded to was the Bald Fire, burning near Redding, Calif. That fire is now at 95 percent containment.

California's continued drought means the fire danger is high, and it's likely these local firefighters will be called back out to help. They could also be sent to Washington or Oregon, where several wildfires are currently burning.

They fought alongside more than 1,000 firefighters from all around the country, including the U.S. Forest Service firefighters and local California fire departments.

This was firefighter Jennifer Jeong's first assignment. She says she was impressed by how well the thousands of resources sent to these fires could communicate.

"It's really neat to see everybody come together and mesh and work together," she said. "It was unity."

Rikki Mitchell

Rikki Mitchell

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Rikki Mitchell is a proud University of Arizona grad and joined the KGUN9 team after graduation. Rikki reports as a video journalist for the evening and weekend newscasts.