Nevada Army Guard gears up for wildfires

RENO, NV (KOLO) When wildfires break out, air support is crucial to fire fighting. The support provided by the Nevada Army Guard is used statewide and often sent to neighboring states.

"The military firefighting capabilities like the accuracy they get with the buckets, ours and the Chinooks', because we're able to mobilize quickly, get out there quickly and stay out there as long as they need us," John Koch, a Blackhawk pilot, says.

The Nevada Army Guard uses UH-60 Blackhawks, which carry up to 660 gallons of water, and CH-47 Chinooks that can hold up to 2,000 gallons of water for air drops on wildland fires.

"Sometimes the Blackhawks will have buckets on there they can't carry as much but we go out there and support them along with other civilian aircraft," Steve Nielsen, a Chinook pilot, says.

Among the challenges they face is the unpredictable weather, which can limit air support.

"Sometimes you get low visibility," Nielsen says. "Wildfires make their own weather so it does make it challenging," Nielsen says.

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