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200 U.S. Army soldiers to be mobilized to fight wildfires

After training, they are expected to be fire-ready by September 3

Author Bill Gabbert Posted on August 28, 2020

"File photo. Jay Karle, center right, a crew boss assigned to assist Soldiers of 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, points out boundaries to be used during wildland firefighting training near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Aug. 20, 2015. The “First Round” Soldiers were activated to help suppress fires in the Pacific Northwest due to civilian resources running low. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Porch, 28th Public Affairs Detachment.)Approximately 200 active duty U.S. Army soldiers are being mobilized to assist with wildfire suppression efforts. The Department of Defense approved the request for the personnel that was submitted by the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group through the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. After receiving training, the soldiers will serve as firefighters.  Above normal fire activity is occurring in northern California, Arizona, and Colorado. The last use of active duty soldiers for firefighting duty in the United States was in 2018. Wildfire Today has articles about mobilizations in 2008, 2015, 2017, and 2018. The personnel will be trained in the basics of wildland fire suppression and firefighter safety by wildland fire agency personnel beginning Sunday, August 30 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington. The soldiers will be outfitted with wildland fire personal protective equipment and other gear. Training is expected to conclude by Wednesday, September 2, with the soldiers beginning work on a wildfire thereafter. While deployed they will be accompanied by experienced wildland fire strike team leaders and crew bosses from wildland fire management agencies. In addition to the U.S. Army activation, four military C-130s equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) are currently serving as air tankers, providing wildfire support in California.

File photo. Personal Protective Equipment is distributed to soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in preparation for deployment to the Umpqua North Fire in Oregon. September 7, 2017. USFS photo."


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