After N.D. Governor Doug Burgum declared a statewide fire emergency on Thursday, he also deployed two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the National Guard to help fight the fires threatening the town of Medora.
The US Forest Service requested that help.
As of Friday Morning, Billings County Rural Fire reports 50 percent of the fire is contained and 3,000 acres burned
On Friday morning, Colonel Tad Schauer, Director of Domestic Operations for the North Dakota National Guard joined Good Day Dakota to discuss the role of the Black Hawk helicopters in fighting the wildfire.
Colonel Schauer says Black Hawks are important in fighting a rapidly changing wildfire. He says those helicopters are a great asset because they can respond to any emergency quickly.
He says that when the fire started yesterday, and the helicopters were dispatched, they were able to send them immediately to Medora to help the crews on the ground.
Colonel Schauer says the North Dakota National Guard received the call yesterday regarding the fire. It took about two and a half hours for the Black Hawk helicopters to make their way to the fire.
He credits the National Guard and the Department of Emergency Services in the quick turn around due to the constant preparation a
Those two Black Hawks carry 600 gallon buckets to drop water. Colonel Schauer says the crews have good communication with the agencies on the ground. The crews then find a water source near where the fires are raging. The helicopter then dips the water buckets in the water source and transfer it to the fire.
These Black Hawks hadn’t deployed for this use since 2015 when they helped with a fire near the University of Mary in Bismarck.
Stay tuned to KX News for the latest developments regarding the wildfire threatening Medora, as well as all fire threats across the state.
The KX Storm Team is also updating a comprehensive map of burn bans and drought levels across the state.