SD Black Hats firefighters travel to northern California

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

Firefighters from the Black Hills are traveling to Northern California to help fight massive fires that have taken multiple lives. At time of publication, 17 people have been confirmed dead, with around 180 still missing.

The State Wildland Fire’s Black Hats Hand Crew, along with members of the Rapid City and Custer fire departments, will send 21 firefighters to wine country to assist Sonoma firefighters with the blaze.    

Dry conditions and unfavorable winds have prompted mass evacuations all over the northern part of the State. 

Local fire fighters were alerted around 5 on Tuesday evening, and left soon after.

According to Albert Taylor, a crew boss trainee and California native, the reality of dropping everything to fight fires across the country is something that the Back Hats live with on a daily basis.

“Before leaving, it's always hectic,” he said. “You’ve got to leave your family on the drop of a dime. But we love to do it; we love to help out.

The Black Hats are stopping in Douglas, Wyo. and Reno, Nev. on their way out to California. They last traveled to Georgia and Tennessee in 2016 to assist departments during a summer of devastating fires.

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