495th Transportation Battalion
Army National Guard members of the HHD 495th Motor Transportation Battalion in Kalispell and the 639th Quartermaster Co. in Kalispell and Libby were among the first soldiers mobilized to help provide road security for the Bitterroot Valley fires in August 2000. Soldiers manned 20 checkpoints 24 hours a day and assisted with evacuations when necessary. Soldiers jumped into action in early August with only a three-hour notice to pack up and head out. They were the first troops mobilized to provide road-closure security for the Bitterroot fires. Lower temperatures, higher humidity and less wind helped firefighters contain the Elk Mountain fire west of Tally Lake and cancelled an evacuation order for the Pinkham Creek area near Eureka. Because the Kalispell Guard unit was the first to mobilize, there were initial problems with transportation, communication and supplies.
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