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National Guard called up to help battle Montana wildfires

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Posted at 3:08 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 17:12:14-04

BILLINGS - Two Montana National Guard helicopter units will be assigned to help fight wildfires in the state, Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Thursday.

The guard units, which include 24 soldiers, will be put on active duty for 15 days, with one unit based in Billings and the other in Helena.

“These Montana National Guard soldiers are well-trained and well-prepared for this mobilization," Gianforte said in a press release. "On behalf of a grateful state, I want to thank these soldiers for joining our courageous firefighters and first responders on the frontlines in our state’s wildfire response.”

The deployment follows a request made by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation for military support to aid in wildland fire suppression efforts.

The Montana National Guard will provide one UH-60 Black Hawk crew and support personnel to operate out of Billings to support fire suppression efforts for eastern Montana, the press release states. One CH-47 Chinook crew and support personnel will operate out of Helena and provide support for the western side of the state.

Additional deployments of National Guard helicopters and ground units will be considered "as wildland fire incidents emerge and develop," the press release states.

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