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American Forces Press Service

200 Active Troops to Join California Firefighting Efforts

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, August 18, 2015 — About 200 active-duty service members will help battle California wildfires as early as Sunday, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said today.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter yesterday approved the assignment of troops from the 7th Infantry Division’s 17th Field Artillery Brigade at Joint-Base Lewis-McChord in Washington to assist the National Interagency Fire Center in battling the fires, Davis said.

“This is the first time since 2006 that DoD has mobilized … active-duty military personnel to serve as firefighters and assist NIFC in fire-suppression efforts,” he said.

Beginning tomorrow, NIFC wildland fire agency personnel and the Bureau of Land Management’s Vegas Valley crew at Joint-Base Lewis-McChord will train the service members, he said.

A day of classroom instruction and two days of field training will include wildfire suppression, fireline safety, protective equipment use and maintenance of wildfire suppression tools, he added.

“The training is expected to wrap up Saturday, and soldiers could begin assignments at wildfires as early as Sunday,” Davis said.

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