Alaska National Guard Helps Battle Wildland Fires Published Aug. 8, 2023 By Capt. David Bedard, Alaska National Guard Public Affairs JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Thirteen members of the Alaska National Guard deployed to Interior Alaska to help fight wildfires across the region. Eight 207th Aviation Troop Command Soldiers deployed to the Alaska Army National Guard Readiness Center in Fairbanks July 31 for UH-60 Black Hawk operations flying out of Fort Wainwright’s Ladd Army Airfield. As of Aug. 7, AKARNG aircrews logged 24 flight hours and conducted 94 bucket drops totaling 59,220 gallons of water on interior wildland fires. The UH-60 Black Hawk carries a sling-loaded bucket underneath that can release up to 630 gallons of water. Five 176th Civil Engineer Squadron Alaska Air National Guard firefighters deployed Aug. 6 to Clear Space Force Station to augment active firefighting efforts in the area. The team deployed with a fire truck and integrated with the state’s active fire response operation, which includes state and federal agencies. Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and adjutant general for the Alaska National Guard, authorized the deployment after receiving a request from the Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire Protection through the State Emergency Operations Center. The Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire said in an Aug. 6 press release that fire spread 35,000 acres in one day, bringing the total fire area to 114,000 acres. During state emergencies or natural disasters, the SEOC receives requests for assistance from affected communities and assigns the most appropriate state resources to help.