Alaska National Guardsmen assist with Interior Alaska wildland fires Published Aug. 7, 2023 By Maj. David Bedard Alaska National Guard Public Affairs Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson -- Thirteen members of the Alaska National Guard deployed to Interior Alaska to support wildland fire suppression across the region. Eight 207th Aviation Troop Command Soldiers deployed to the Alaska Army National Guard Readiness Center in Fairbanks July 31 for UH-60 Black Hawk operations flying out of Fort Wainwright’s Ladd Army Airfield. To date, AKARNG air crews have logged 24 flight hours and conducted 94 bucket drops totaling 59,220 gallons of water on interior wildland fires. The UH-60 Black Hawk carries a sling-loaded Bambi bucket underneath that can release up to 630 gallons of water. Five 176th Civil Engineer Squadron Alaska Air National Guard firefighters deployed Aug. 6 to Clear Space Force Station to augment active fire suppression efforts in the area. The team deployed with its own fire truck and will integrate with the state’s active fire response operation which includes state and federal agencies. The commissioner of the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and adjutant general for the Alaska National Guard, Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, authorized the National Guard deployment after receiving a resource request from the Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire Protection routed through the State Emergency Operations Center. According to an Aug. 7 Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire press release, a single-day increase of 35,000 acres Aug. 6 brought the total fire area to 114,000 acres. During state emergencies or natural disasters, the SEOC receives requests for assistance from affected communities and assigns the most appropriate state resources to help.