National Guard's ground troops heading to fire lines

National Guard's ground troops heading to fire lines

Credit: KING

National Guard's ground troops heading to fire lines

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on July 18, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 19 at 2:58 PM

JOINT BASE LEWIS McCHORD, Wash.— For the first time since 1994, firefighters in Washington will get help from National Guard ground troops.

The 100 Guard members could be sent to fire scenes early next week.

On Saturday, soldiers from the 66th Theater Aviation command dropped water on the Carlton Complex fire near Winthrop. Officials said six helicopters along with 50 guardsmen are working with state agencies to extinguish the wildfires around the state. 

Since helicopter crews started assisting crews on Wednesday, they have dropped more than 84,000 gallons of water on fires in Eastern and Central Washington.

”There’s no better feeling than knowing you’re helping the people of your own state,” said Lt. Kevin Robillard.

The Renton man, who pilots a Black Hawk for the Guard, has a fulltime job working as a supervisor at Honeywell Aerospace.

He found out Thursday night he was being called into action and showed up at Joint Base Lewis McChord Friday morning.

Robillard say his boss at Honeywell and his girlfriend support him.

”She’s not thrilled, but she understands the mission,” said Robillard.

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