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CHICO, Calif. - The National Guard is now stationed at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds and will be assisting Cal Fire in the field on the Bear Fire as type 2 hand crews.
138 National Guard troops are now stationed at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico. 120 are split into 6 groups of 20.
They are serving as type 2 hand crews. Their main goal is to handle hot spots and mopping up when they're out.
They are on the fire line for the first time Monday after a week-long training session with Cal Fire.
"The National Guard is a viable resource to assist us and taking care of these fires," said Scott McLean, Cal Fire spokesperson.
Cal Fire helped get the National Guard settled at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds Sunday night.
"They provided the white trucks, the building here, all the support aspects were provided by Cal Fire. Food, water, and so that kind of makes our mission a lot easier. It takes a huge chunk of logistics out of the planning process. So we can just get on the ground and go straight to work," said Capt. Jason Kim, National Guard Force Package Commander.
They have plenty of porta potties as well as a large dining facility at the base camp. The guardsman also has the use of laundry facilities and cleaning stations. Cal Fire provided tents for some guardsman, some are staying in hotels and for those who still need a place, there are extra trailers on site.
"Its a fully functional little city right here and we're very thankful for it," said Kim.
The National Guard troops that are not on the fire lines are stationed at the command tent. The command cell coordinates the troops in the field and supports them when they come back.
The National Guard says they are expecting to be stationed here for about 2 weeks but they're going to stay as long as they are needed.
The National Guard has an additional 120 troops serving as hand crews for the August Complex. They are stationed at the Mendocino National Forest.