News: National Guard expands Midwest, Southwest wildfire support
Story by Tech. Sgt. Johnathon Orrell
ARLINGTON, Va. – With an already busy wildfire season under its belt, the National Guard has expanded firefighting efforts in several states throughout the Midwest and Southwest, where they have activated more than 100 personnel and multiple aircraft.
As of today, the National Guard has been newly activated in California, Oklahoma and Utah while continuing efforts in Nebraska and Nevada, National Guard officials reported.
In California, 21 Army Guard members and three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters have been activated for the firefighting response. They will be supporting aerial fire suppression operations in El Dorado County.
Eleven Guard members and one UH-60 Black Hawk with a Bambi Bucket – a fire suppression system that allows the Guard members to haul and drop up to 2,600 gallons of water to fight fires – were activated in Nevada.
The Oklahoma National Guard activated 30 Guard members along with three UH-60 Black Hawks and two CH-47 Chinook helicopters with Bambi Buckets. Guard members are also assisting civilian authorities with fire suppression operations in Blaine, Oklahoma, Cleveland, Creek and Payne Counties.
In Utah, 64 Guard members and three UH-60 Black Hawks with Bambi Buckets have been activated to conduct fire suppression missions for the Pinyon Wildfire which has burned 2,500 acres and is currently zero percent contained.
All of the wildfire missions are currently on-going with no estimated time of completion.