SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California is calling in the National Guard for the first time to help protect communities from wildfires like the one that destroyed much of the city of Paradise last fall.
The state is pulling the troops away from President Donald Trump’s border protection efforts and devoting them to fire protection, another area where the president has been critical of California officials.
Starting next month, 110 California National Guard troops will receive 11 days of training in using shovels, rakes and chain saws to thin trees and brush.
They’ll be divided into five teams that will work on forest management projects around the state.
The projects are intended to slow advancing flames. Critics say they damage forests and can be useless against wind-driven fires.