SAN BERNARDINO ( — The Pentagon is providing close to 200 active duty soldiers to assist local agencies battling nearly 20 wildfires burning across drought-stricken California.

The move is the first time in almost a decade the Pentagon has had to take such measures as a result of fire crews being stretched too thin.

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“Nationally, we’re at a Planning Level 5, which basically says that firefighting resources are stretched to the limit,” said John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service, which coordinates local, state and national agencies during wildfires.

Right now, according to the federal agency, it’s a battle prioritizing where to put their people and machinery.

“It might be that aircraft might have to come from another fire to make a couple drops and then return back to where they came,” Miller said. “It’s a giant chessboard for the Forest Service. It’s controlled out of Boise, Idaho.”

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Across the state, close to 20 fires are currently burning through drought-stricken areas.

“You always plan for the unexpected,” Miller said.

The U.S. Forest Service says the public can take some very basic safety measures to help, including ensuring one’s vehicle is in good working condition.

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The agency says cars are responsible for most of the wildfires that start in Southern California and across the state.