Wisconsin soldiers fight wildfires on West Coast

Wisconsin Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk crews from the Madison, Wis.-based 1st...
Wisconsin Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk crews from the Madison, Wis.-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation provide assistance in wildfire fighting operations in California.(Wisconsin National Guard)
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 8:43 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin soldiers who went out to fight wildfires in August on the West Coast are still there Wednesday to support the mission.

The Wisconsin National Guard reports Madison’s 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation crews have dropped a total of 184 buckets, or around 130,000 gallons, on the Caldor fire.

There is one helicopter and six military members from multiple units working in Washington state, while two aircrafts and 17 military members from Madison’s 1st Battalion are helping the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection with aviation and firefighting responsibilities.

Soldiers have worked for a total of 94 hours in flight time to help put out the fire that has burned 210,000 acres in California. First Lt. Meredith Porter said that despite the around the clock work, it has not affected soldiers negatively.

“All our soldiers are very happy to be here to help in any way they can,” she said. “Despite long days, morale is high and everybody knows they are here doing what they can to help and to learn.”

Sgt. Zachary Hoy, a crew chief in the same unit as Porter, said it is a privilege to help fight these fires.

“It is such a fulfilling, cool mission, and it’s great we have been able to bring more people from back home to gain this valuable and meaningful experience,” he said.

The Wisconsin National Guard expects these wildfire missions to continue through mid-September.

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