Helicopters from U.S. Army assisting with wildfires in South Korea

One of the fires has burned more than 57,000 acres

UH-60 Blackhawk
File photo of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division using a Bambi Bucket to drop water on a wildfire in Gangwon province, South Korea, April 5, 2019. (South Korean Army)

The U.S. Army has mobilized helicopters and crews to help suppress wildfires in eastern South Korea following a formal request from their government.

The Army’s 2nd Infantry Division will send UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, according to Stars and Stripes. Approximately five helicopters are expected to be deployed.

map wildfires south korea
Map showing the location of heat detected by satellites on wildfires in eastern South Korea, at 5:33 a.m. PST March 12, 2022.

South Korea has been battling several wildfires since March 4. The blaze the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade will assist in controlling began in Uljin County and had burned nearly 57,400 acres as of Thursday afternoon, according to a Ministry of the Interior and Safety official speaking on condition of anonymity, which is customary in South Korea.

South Korea is not inexperienced in aerial firefighting. The Korea Forest Service (KFS) has at least six S-64 Air-Crane helicopters. In 2001, KFS became the first foreign government to purchase S-64 helicopters from Erickson. The most recently delivered versions have composite main rotor blades and glass cockpits. Some of the S-64 helicopters in the KFS fleet have the optional front-mounted water cannon.

South Korean Air Crane helicopter wildfire water cannon