California has now activated 1,300 members of its National Guard to help fight multiple wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres.
The activated personnel are providing security and overhead support with MQ-9 Reaper and RC-26 reconnaissance aircraft to track and map existing fires and detect new fires and Army high-water vehicles and tactical trucks that can navigate the badly damaged terrain.
The activated personnel are also flying support missions in two C-130Js and six UH-60 helicopters.
The Pentagon said Friday that an additional 500 personnel may be activated to support quick reaction force teams, transportation and fire suppression.
California announced the first activations Thursday as it struggled to contain multiple massive wildfires along its heavily populated southern coastal area.
On Thursday it announced an initial 65 members from the 146th Airlift Wing and would be dispatched to Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Oxnard, Calif.
The forces are assigned to the 129th Rescue Wing, which provides pararescue with MC-130P and HH-60G Pave Hawks, and the 144th Fighter Wing, which flies F-15Cs.
All of the troops were activated under state orders, not under Title 10, the Pentagon said, and more activations are expected.
Tara Copp is a Pentagon correspondent for the Associated Press. She was previously Pentagon bureau chief for Sightline Media Group.