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Oct-23-2007 17:03printcomments

1,500 California Guardsmen Head for the Fire Zone

They are providing support for crews battling the wildfires.

The smoke from the wind driven fires has severely diminished air quality in Southern California where the guard soldiers will aid the firefighting effort
The smoke from the wind driven fires has severely diminished air quality in Southern California where the guard soldiers will aid the firefighting effort. This shot was taken in Oceanside Tuesday morning by: Ken Grandlund

(SACRAMENTO) - More than 1,500 California National Guard men and women as well as various types of equipment continue to provide assistance with the Southern California wildfires.

There are 1,110 Army National Guard soldiers and 400 Air National Guard soldiers, "responded swiftly to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's call with various air and ground assets that are providing security, transportation, and humanitarian support by assisting local authorities," Guard officials say.

The California National Guard has a total of six UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and two UH-1 helicopters that are being utilized to combat the fires in Southern California. One CH-47 Chinook has departed Stockton with a four-man crew for Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos for missions to be determined.

The California National Guard most recently transported approximately 300 soldiers and equipment using California and Nevada Air National Guard C-130s. The soldiers are currently conducting operations throughout the region fulfilling humanitarian missions.

Also, Air Guard C-130 Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFS) are enroute to provide firefighting support. (Two MAFFS from the Wyoming Air National Guard and two MAFFS from the North Carolina Air National Guard).

The UH-60 Blackhawk and the Firehawk are capable of fire suppression missions as well as personnel transport in and out of dangerous and hard to reach locations.

The California National Guard maintains its own operations center staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to ensure constant awareness of potential emergencies and provide rapid response if our assistance is needed.

"The California National Guard is actively engaged in responding to the wildfires in Southern California by providing assistance to local authorities and to the citizens of the affected communities," said Maj. Gen. William H. Wade II, the Adjutant General of the California National Guard.

"We continue to do this through air assets and personnel and equipment on the ground. The CNG is proud of its ability to respond rapidly to those citizens affected by this horrible disaster."

The California National Guard is experienced in executing firefighting response missions, and recently conducted its annual three-day large-scale interagency wildfire training exercise near Fresno in May with Cal Fire and the USDA Forest Service.

This is how it looked when the day began Tuesday

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