• The move marks the first-ever instance of Israeli fire crews arriving in the U.S. to fight blazes
  • Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg posted a welcome note on Twitter for the team
  • The wildfires have burned over 1.46 million acres and destroyed around 2,800 structures so far

A team of 10 firefighters from Israel has arrived in Sacramento, California, on Sunday to help battle the destructive wildfires that swept through the area. This marks the first-ever instance of Israeli firefighters landing in the United States to assist in fighting fires.

The fires, which started Aug. 15, have been burning over 1.46 million acres and has destroyed about 2,800 structures as of Tuesday.

The Israeli team, comprising officers and firefighters from the country's Fire and Rescue Services, rescue and forest fire experts, and an Israeli Foreign Ministry representative, is expected to remain in the U.S. for nearly two weeks, according to a statement the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said the move represented “close friendship between the nations” and “excellent relations” that the countries share. “I praise the members of the delegation and wish them success on their mission,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg welcomed the crew Sunday with a message on Twitter. “Today we welcomed a delegation of firefighters from Israel who arrived yesterday,” he wrote. “Tomorrow they will report to the CA Office of Emergency Services and be dispatched to fires around the state. As a Jewish mayor, I'm particularly proud and happy to see them come to our aid.”

At least 16,000 firefighters have been reportedly mobilized as of Monday across California to contain over 18 reported major fires raging across the state. According to Cal Fire, the wildfires, called the SCU Lightning Complex, are spotted in Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, and San Benito counties. The fires have burned 383,157 acres so far, with 60% containment.

The SCU Lighting Complex is the second-largest wildfire recorded in California history, and the LNU Lightning Complex, which has burned 375,209 acres across Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Lake, and Yolo counties, with 63% containment, was named as the third-largest wildfire in the state’s history.

Several U.S. states have extended their help to California and Gov. Gavin Newsom said he urged countries like Australia and Canada also to rush assistance for California firefighters. However, it is unclear when the forces from Australia and Canada will be deployed.