Soldiers from Fort Riley are helping in the effort to fight wildfires in the western part of the country.
According to the Army, soldiers assigned to 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, are providing around-the-clock medevac support to civilian and military agencies fighting the massive wildfire in northeastern Washington state.
The unit is supporting Task Force First Round, which was formed around the 17th Field Artillery Brigade from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to combat what is being called the Tower Fire. About 95 large wildfires are burning 1.1 million acres in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada and Colorado, according to information from U.S. Northern Command.
“The 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley are once again on point for our nation,” said Maj. Gen. Wayne W. Grigsby Jr., commanding general of the 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley. “Fort Riley’s central location in Kansas is key to the ‘Big Red One’s’ ability to provide ready Soldiers to support operations on either coast or around the world. Our brave and responsible Big Red One Soldiers are proud to support this interagency effort – they can and will accomplish any mission set in front of them.”
On Aug. 17, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, mobilized active-duty Soldiers to serve as firefighters to assist with wildfire suppression efforts, according to information from NORTHCOM. This is the first time since 2006 the NIFC has called upon active-duty Soldiers to assist in firefighting efforts.