Active Duty Troops Join Fire Fighting Efforts

Active Duty ground troops have joined the fight against wildfires in California, battling flames on the ground as Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve C-130s tackle the blaze from the sky. About 200 Active Duty soldiers were assigned to the National Interagency Fire Center to help battle fires in northern California, Pentagon officials said this week. The soldiers from the 7th Infantry Division’s 17th Field Artillery Brigade at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., are the first Active Duty troops mobilized to fight fires since 2006, according to the Defense Department. On Aug. 19, the soldiers began training with the Bureau of Land Management’s Vegas Valley crew. Two C-130s from the Reserve 302nd Airlift Wing in Colorado, along with two C-130s from the Wyoming and North Carolina Air National Guard, deployed to California on Aug. 13 to join the battle against fires raging the state. About 95 large fires are burning about 1.1 acres in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, and Colorado, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.