NEWS | Sept. 9, 2020

Utah Guard’s Black Hawks return to California to help fight fires

By Maj. Jaime Thomas 801-716-9063 97th Aviation Troop Command, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment

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 10 Soldiers to help reduce the destruction of the deadly California wildfires.

The two helicopters with pilots, crew and support personnel will depart the Army Aviation Support Facility in West Jordan on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.  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 14 days, making repeated trips to nearby water sources to dip their 600-gallon buckets, and from the air, drop water on the flames.

"We are grateful to be able to help out the citizens of California,” said Chief Warrant Officer Two Brian Johnson, instructor pilot, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion. “We train extensively to be prepared for situations just like this and hope that we can make on impact of the wildland firefighting efforts."

This is the second request from California to support the wildfire response. Previously, two helicopters with crews and support personnel supported firefighting efforts for the Tehama fire near Red Bluff, California from Aug. 30 through Sept. 2, 2020. The aviation support effort returned to Utah after they were no longer needed to support their assigned wildfire.

Since returning home to Utah, wildfires continue to worsen in California due to high-wind conditions and newly started wildfires. To prevent further destruction, California requested additional support from multiple agencies, including the Utah National Guard.  

The Utah National Guard is highly trained in emergency wildfire support and is proud to assist California during this emergency.

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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 9:30 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.

#UtahGuard  #AlwaysReady  #AlwaysThere

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