Wisconsin National Guard en route to California to battle wildfires

Local News

MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – Two Wisconsin National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and about 15 soldiers are en route to California to assist the California National Guard as it battles wildfires.

The aircraft, crews, and maintenance personnel from the Madison-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation, left for California today after Wisconsin received an Emergency Management Assistance Compact, or EMAC, request from California.

Crews from the Wisconsin National Guard will receive their specific mission tasking after arriving in California from the California Guard and local civil authorities there.

“This is what we train for,” says Lt. Col. Kurt Southworth, the commander of the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation. “We regularly train for search and rescue, fire suppression, and many other missions to support our fellow citizens and communities, so when this call came in, our crews were ready to answer the call in a short amount of time. I’m proud of our Soldiers and their dedication to serving our state and nation. This is why we serve and what it means to be a Citizen Soldier.”

EMAC is a mutual aid agreement that allows state-to-state assistance during declared states of emergency, and it allows other states to provide resources such as National Guard troops and equipment to the requesting state. The troops deploying to California are doing so in a State Active Duty status.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers submitted an EMAC request to other states to provide additional National Guard troops, equipment, and resources to Kenosha last month to help local law enforcement respond to protests.

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