Kansas National Guard helicopters assist firefighting operations in Cheyenne County
Two Kansas Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and eight soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation, based out of Salina, Kansas, are being deployed to support firefighting operations in Cheyenne County.
The helicopters are equipped with collapsible Bambi buckets which hold approximately 660 gallons of water. Wind permitting, these will be used to drop water on hot spots that are difficult for ground crews to access.
The Kansas Air National Guard’s 284th Air Support Operations Squadron is also providing two ground to air coordinators to assist with the coordination of the aerial water drops.
Gov. Laura Kelly, issued a verbal disaster declaration on Saturday, Nov. 9, for Cheyenne County due to grass fires which were sparked along US-36 near the City of Saint Francis.
“The people of Cheyenne County need our help,” Kelly said, “and, like good Kansas neighbors, we will give them whatever assistance we can to help them get these fires under control.”
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management in Topeka activated the State Emergency Operations Center to a partial level this morning, Sunday, Nov. 10, to coordinate state response to Cheyenne County.
State agency partners that have reported to the SEOC are the Kansas Forest Service, the Kansas Fire Marshal, and the Kansas National Guard.
The Kansas Forest Service has one contract tanker that is also assisting with fire suppression.
The Kansas Highway Patrol is currently assisting local law enforcement with traffic control.
CHEYENNE COUNTY, Kan. — ___
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