LOWER LAKE (CBS/AP) — The California National Guard is sending in a fleet of helicopters to back up firefighters battling flames raging across the northern half of the state.

The Guard said Thursday that it’s mobilizing nine helicopters. They’ll douse flames with water, evacuate the injured, and move around firefighters and their equipment.

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The helicopters add to a crew of 7,000 firefighters already battling 14 large blazes in Northern California.

Firefighters say conditions are critical, with triple-digit temperatures and gusting winds adding danger to the drought conditions.

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The California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection requested the backup choppers. The fleet consists of Blackhawks, Chinooks and Lakotas.

They’re first target is a 12-square-mile blaze east of California’s Napa Valley in Solano County that jumped a containment line earlier this week.

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