Sept. 17 (UPI) -- About 250 Marines and sailors are expected to be deployed to Central California to assist firefighters battling the Creek Fire, U.S. military officials said.
The unit from Camp Pendleton will take part in fire suppression efforts against the blaze located in the Sierra National Forest. They'll be overseen by the U.S. Army North (Fifth Army), U.S. Northern Command's Joint Force Land Component Command.
This marks the second such military support effort undertaken in California this month.
"Given the unprecedented fire season and the magnitude of the loss the people of California are experiencing, we stand ready to support the National Interagency Fire Center in their effort to help protect people, property and land in California," said Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, ARNORTH and JFLCC commander.
"Just like the soldiers supporting fire suppression efforts in Northern California, the Marines and sailors who will assist in this mission in Central California are trained and equipped with all of the necessary gear to keep them safe, to include in a COVID-19 environment."
As of Thursday morning, the Creek Fire has burned more than 244,000 acres of land and is about 18% contained. Started Sept. 4, the blaze is situated in Fresno and Madera counties.
The wildfire has destroyed some 750 structures and damaged dozens of others. Nearly 3,000 firefighting personnel are battling the blaze.
Throughout the state, dozens of fires have burned more than 3.4 million acres this wildfire season. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said combined, the fires have killed at least 25 people and destroyed nearly 5,400 structures.
The majority of California's fatalities have occurred in the North Complex of fires in Butte, Plumas and Yuba counties -- 15. The fires that make up the complex have burned more than 280,000 acres and are about 26% contained.
Cal Fire said firefighters have been able to make progress on containing the blaze due to increased humidity and lower temperatures in the region. Mandatory evacuations are in place in the fire zones.
The largest wildfire is the August Complex in Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity counties. It's consumed more than 830,000 acres and was 30% contained, making it the largest wildfire in California history. The blaze has killed one person and destroyed 28 structures.