The drops were part of two multiple day operations between 16-19 July, and 27-29 July, in Blaine and Woodward counties, which saw UH-60 Black Hawk and LUH-72 helicopters make 744 water drops.
The work of the Oklahoma National Guard was part of a combined effort with the state’s Forestry Service and local firefighting services, coordinated by the Office of Emergency Management.
Brian Ryles, a Forest Ranger with the Oklahoma Forestry Service and part of the unified command for the fire in Blaine County said the National Guard helicopters’ ability to drop water in places traditional fire fighters cannot go is critical to stopping the spread of fires.
“We all have weaknesses, we all have our strengths and when we all come together and put all our strengths together, it’s very effective,” he said. “Everybody is on the same plan and working hand in hand and I couldn’t be any prouder of the Forestry Service, local fire departments and National Guard – everything is working great.”
Further east, Kentucky’s Air National Guard was supporting flood relief efforts in the their own state’s eastern regions, rescuing 19 stranded residents and two dogs.