By National Guard Bureau
Hundreds of members of the National Guard from multiple states are supporting state and local efforts to fight the wildfires raging in California. National Guard members on land and in the air are helping firefighters and first responders do their jobs, while National Guard aircrews are helping map and fight the blazes.
As of Aug. 24, the California National Guard had more than 660 members in the fight. Aircraft include seven helicopters with water buckets, two C-130s capable of dropping 3,000 gallons of fire retardant in five seconds, and two MQ-9 drones to provide fire mapping and damage assessment.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection issued protective gear to more than 270 California National Guard soldiers so they could begin hand crew training at Camp Roberts on Aug. 23 to support firefighting efforts. The Guard members will supplement other hand crews deployed to key locations.
Additionally, members of the 132nd Multirole Bridge Company, 579th Engineer Battalion, 49th Military Police Brigade, erected a four-bay improved ribbon bridge (IRB) at Cache Creek Canyon in Capay Valley so first responders can have a quicker, easier route to fight wildfires.
Other states are also stepping in to help. Members of the Nevada National Guard’s 152nd Airlift Wing, also known as the “High Rollers,” activated July 29 to assist in California, with orders extended to Sept. 17.
Since arriving at Sacramento McClellan Airport in California July 29, the 152nd’s eight aircraft made 12 drops and flew more than 14 missions — dropping more than 35,000 gallons of retardant in about 20 hours of flight time. The drops supported suppression of fires in Kern and Colusa counties. On Aug. 22, the Nevada National Guard also deployed two UH-72 Lakota helicopters and crew to California to act as “spotters” to help direct and report to firefighting aircraft.
“Our low-level tactical training prepares us for these missions,” said Maj. Tom Dorsett, of the 152nd. “Safety and accuracy is the priority.”
Additionally, the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing also contributed two C-130 aircraft to dump fire retardant and help suppress the fires.
-The California, Nevada and Wyoming National Guard contributed to this story.
-This story originally appeared on army.mil. It has been edited for USO.org.
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