Governor activates National Guard to help with Washington State fires

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – Governor Matt Mead activated a Wyoming Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The UH-60 and crew will deploy to Washington State to assist forest fire fighting. The focus will be on medical evacuations.

“In 2012 fires burned more than half a million acres across Wyoming. This year we have had little fire activity. We are glad to be able to help Washington as it battles fire this year,” Governor Mead said.

The Wyoming National Guard will base out of Bowers Field, in Ellensburg, Washington, for 12 days. This agreement is through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which allows a Governor to seek help from other states in an emergency. The state asking for assistance covers the costs. Last year, Governor Mead provided Colorado with resources during flooding.

“Supporting other states in times of natural disaster is absolutely the right thing to do,” said Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner, Wyoming’s adjutant general.

“It sounds like they’re busy up there,” said Lt. Col. Stacy Roth, one of the crewmembers heading to Washington. “They’re fighting fires on mountains, so a lot of time when medevac is called up, it’s not necessarily because of burns, but from working on the mountains and breaking ankles and things like that. We are bringing a 250-foot high-power hoist. We can pluck people off the side of the mountain if we have to.”

The Department of Defense has also activated the Wyoming Air National Guard to help with firefighting. Two Wyoming C-130s are flying missions in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and California.

–Gov. Matt Mead’s Office