Local volunteers, strike teams assist California fires

The Thomas Fire, the largest one in Southern California, has burned over 132,000 acres

The Associated Press - PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Volunteers and strike teams from all over the state -- including the Portland-metro area -- have made their way to help California firefighters battle several massive blazes north of Los Angeles.

The Oregon Fire Marshal said Wednesday it is also sending heavy equipment to help.

The largest and most destructive of the fires, an 85-square-mile (220-sq. kilometer) wildfire in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, had nearly reached the Pacific on Tuesday night after starting 30 miles (48 kilometers) inland a day earlier.

Strikes teams from Oregon came from Lane, Multnomah, Washington, Linn, Marion, Clackamas, Klamath and Yamhill counties.

A combined team from Polk, Linn, and Benton counties and a team from the Rogue Valley also were en route as of Wednesday.

State fire officials said five more strike teams were planned to be dispatched later Wednesday.

Volunteers from the American Red Cross, Cascades Region also went down to help out in Southern California. Nearly 2 dozen are helping after hundreds of homes have been burned and thousands were evacuated.

Storm Olund, a volunteer from Oregon City, said he saw smoke from the airplane before he landed in California. He's been working at a Red Cross shelter in Oxnard, which houses about 120 people.  He said he's seen a lot of smoke.

"It was pretty dire ... we're providing water, we're providing food, we're providing information to the people here," Olund said.

Ron Burby, a Vancouver resident, is stationed at the Ventura County Fairgrounds shelter, where nearly 250 people are being assisted.

"We have more and more coming in every day," Burby said, as firefighters continue to work on the flames.

"My heart goes out to them."

You can monitor the status of the fires by clicking here.

KOIN 6 News contributed to this report

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