Utah National Guard’s Black Hawks help fight California fires

By Maj. Jaime Thomas | 97th Aviation Troop Command, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment | Aug. 26, 2020

WEST JORDAN, Utah —

WEST JORDAN, Utah - Utah National Guard’s 97th Aviation Troop Command, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment is responding with two UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters and nine Soldiers to help reduce the destruction of the deadly California wildfires Aug. 27. 

The two helicopters with pilots, crew and support personnel will depart the Army Aviation Support Facility in West Jordan to assist firefighters battling the massive blazes. Once on location in Mather, California, they will undergo a two-day training and then be placed into firefighting duty. Currently, it is anticipated they will support operations for approximately 15 days, making repeated trips to nearby water sources to dip their 600-gallon buckets, and from the air, drop water on the flames. 

“The Utah National Guard is proud to be able to assist California,” said Col. Ricky Smith, commander, 97th Aviation Troop Command. “The aircrews of the 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion are of the highest caliber and will be an invaluable asset to California in their fight against these unprecedented wildfires.” 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Saturday the state has received a Presidential Major Disaster declaration, releasing federal aid to supplement firefighting and recovery efforts. California’s fire-fighting resources have been stretched battling the second and third largest incidents in the state. Utah is one of a number of additional resources coming to California from outside agencies. 

This deployment is in response to a request from California through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a mutual-aid agreement between states and coordinated through state emergency management agencies, including Utah Division of Emergency Management. California has accepted Utah’s EMAC offer for this support. 

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Media Notes: Contact MAJ Jaime Thomas, Public Affairs Officer, at 801-716-9063 if interested in attending the departure of the 2-211th GSAB. Media should arrive no later than 8:30 a.m. at 7563 South Airport Rd. West Jordan, Utah 84084. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and state government directives, media must wear face masks. 

The Utah National Guard will continue to provide updates via Twitter @UTNationalGuard. 

#UtahGuard #AlwaysReady #AlwaysThere 

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