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Wisconsin National Guard joins fight against California wildfires

APTOPIX California Wildfires
Posted at 4:15 PM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 17:16:16-04

MADISON — The Wisconsin National Guard is joining the fight against massive wildfires leaving devastating damage in their wake out West.

Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and about 15 soldiers are already en route to California to assist the state's national guard as it battles the fires.

The troops hail from the Madison-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation.

The Guard got the OK to deploy after Wisconsin accepted a plea for assistance from the Golden State, called an Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

When they arrive, the Wisconsin guards will receive their specific mission from the California Guard and local civil authorities there.

“This is what we train for,” said. Lt. Col. Kurt Southworth, the commander of the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation in a news release.

“We regularly train for search and rescue, fire suppression, and many other missions to support our fellow citizens and communities, so when this call came in, our crews were ready to answer the call in a short amount of time. I’m proud of our Soldiers and their dedication to serving our state and nation. This is why we serve and what it means to be a Citizen Soldier," according to Southworth.

Large wildfires are being tracked across California, including the August Complex, North Complex, Creek and El Dorado fires.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says 14,800 firefighters are on the lines of 28 major wildfires burning statewide Friday.

Nineteen people have been killed and thousands of structures, including homes, have been destroyed, according to the Associated Press.

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