The massive wildfire that is burning near Yosemite National Park in California has prompted help from the California National Guard, among other state and federal agencies. The so-called Rim Fire has charred nearly 170,000 acres, roughly the size of the city of Chicago. The video and the photos in this story show the efforts being made by the California Army National Guard’s 1-140th Aviation Battalion (Air Assault) to assist in fighting the Rim Fire. The California National Guard has contributed two Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawks and two Air National Guard HH-60G Pave Hawks to battling the Rim Fire. The Black Hawks and Pave Hawks each carry a 660-gallon water bucket. Another Pave Hawk has also been staged in Redding, Calif., in the event of a medical evacuation call. Two Air National Guard C-130J aircraft have also been assisting by dispersing fire retardant.
That contribution may seem small, but the National Guard also has six helicopters battling other wildfires in California. “In times of crisis it is imperative we pull together as a united front against the threat of wildfires in our state,” said Adjutant General of the California National Guard Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin. “Working together in a climate of cooperation with CAL FIRE and CAL OES [Office of Emergency Services], our soldiers and airmen are committed to preserving the lives and property of our neighbors who are threatened by this emergency.” Since joining the firefighting efforts on Aug. 17, the National Guard helicopters have flown more than 188 hours and have made more than 450 drops, totaling over 250,000 gallons of water.
“In times of crisis it is imperative we pull together as a united front against the threat of wildfires in our state.”
Some of the photos show the rough terrain that has made it difficult for firefighters to battle the blaze, which began Aug. 17. The California National Guard’s efforts are but one part of roughly 2,800 firefighters who are currently trying to contain the Rim Fire. Fire officials reported yesterday that the Rim Fire is now 15 percent contained, up from the 7 percent containment reported Sunday.