More than 60 Oregon firefighters deployed to California to return for Christmas

In this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Ryan Thomas hikes down steep terrain below East Camino Cielo to meet with his crew and root out and extinguish smoldering hot spots in Santa Barbara, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. Officials estimate that the Thomas Fire will grow to become the biggest in California history before full containment, expected by Jan. 7, 2018. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)

More than 60 Oregon firefighters who were sent to southern California earlier this month to battle the Thomas Fire are heading back home, just in time for Christmas.

The crews, part of the Oregon Department of Forestry districts and Coos and Douglas Forest Protective Associations, were battling the fire northwest of Los Angeles for almost two weeks.

About 300 other Oregon firefighters who were also battling the Thomas Fire were demobilized as well.

"We're proud of the job our firefighters did helping our neighbors to the south," said Oregon State Forester Peter Daugherty. "Other states, including California, were there when Oregon needed help over the past few years and we're glad we're able to reciprocate. Wildfire is a common threat across the Western states, and sharing resources when they can safely be spared is a key way to meet the challenge."


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