Approximately 200 active duty U.S. Army soldiers are being mobilized to assist with wildfire suppression efforts.
The Department of Defense approved the request for the personnel that was submitted by the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group through the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.
After receiving training, the soldiers will serve as firefighters. Above normal fire activity is occurring in northern California, Arizona, and Colorado.
The personnel will be trained in the basics of wildland fire suppression and firefighter safety by wildland fire agency personnel beginning Sunday, August 30 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington. The soldiers will be outfitted with wildland fire personal protective equipment and other gear. Training is expected to conclude by Wednesday, September 2, with the soldiers beginning work on a wildfire thereafter. While deployed they will be accompanied by experienced wildland fire strike team leaders and crew bosses from wildland fire management agencies.
In addition to the U.S. Army activation, four military C-130s equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) are currently serving as air tankers, providing wildfire support in California.