by Vaughn R. Larson
Two Wisconsin Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the Army Aviation Support Facility #2 in Madison, Wisconsin were dispatched April 12 to support wildfire suppression efforts near Necedah in Juneau County.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources requested the Black Hawks to bolster emergency fire support for what it called the Black River complex — two wildfires in Juneau County. The Jack Pine fire area affected more than 80 acres and resulted in residents being evacuated, but was considered to be contained by Tuesday evening. The second fire was near Fort McCoy, Wisconsin and affected more than 2,800 acres. A public information officer with the DNR said that fire was roughly 50 percent contained as of April 13.
The Black Hawk helicopters employed Bambi buckets to drop water on the wildfire area. The DNR said three Black Hawks were also expected to support fire suppression efforts April 13.
Prior to the Black River complex fire, Gov. Tony Evers declared a state of emergency April 12 in response to elevated wildfire conditions throughout the state. This emergency order allows the National Guard to be called to state active duty if needed.
“This is a real-time demonstration of the incredible value the Wisconsin National Guard provides,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general. “Our dual mission status makes critical assets like these Black Hawk aircraft available to the governor in emergencies such as this wildfire. Our Soldiers and Airmen continuously train to meet the needs of both our state and federal missions, whenever called upon.”