NC Guard on standby to help fight Arizona wildfires
Posted July 2, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — A North Carolina Air National Guard unit is on standby to help firefighting efforts in Arizona, where 19 firefighters lost their lives Sunday.
The 145th Airlift Wing is prepared to send two C-130 planes if needed, said Col. Charles Davis, commander of the Air Expeditionary Group, an Idaho-based military response team.
The AEG is sending four aircraft – two from the Air Force Reserve Command in Colorado and two from the California Air National Guard – to Arizona by Wednesday to drop fire retardant on the Dean Peak wildfire, which is burning near the town of Kingman.
Two C-130s operated by the Wyoming Air National Guard are also on standby, Davis said Tuesday.
The units are part of the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, which activated June 11 to help fight forest fires in southern Colorado. Davis said the aircraft have made 70 drops on Colorado and Arizona fires since then, using nearly 200,000 gallons of fire retardant.
Officials on Monday dedicated a memorial in western South Dakota to honor four North Carolina guardsmen who died last July when their air tanker crashed during a violent downdraft as they fought a wildfire in the Black Hills region. The crew was part of the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System.