[pjw] NEWS: Half of Oregon firefighting helicopters in Afghanistan (Newsweek 9/10)
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Sun Sep 13 14:24:49 EDT 2020
Hi again PJW supporters
Right after I sent the report back from Friday's rally I remembered that
I'd also said the wildfires causing horrible damage, taking human lives
and darkening our skies were a product of climate change. I mentioned how
President Trump denies climate change in the same way he is now denying
that he admitted that he was denying that coronavirus was a dangerous
Well, I ran across this article yesterday afternoon making an explicit
connection between Oregon's plight and our military misadventures. Six of
thirteen firefighting helicopters normally used for firefighting are in
Afghanistan. Soak that in. We've written to the Governor of this state
every year since the late 2000s calling for the National Guard not to be
deployed overseas in part because they are needed here for things like...
fighting wildfires. And now the wars have had another devastating impact.
(I'm realizing I need to add the 2018 and 2019 letters to this page:
Here again is the Governor's contact page:
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
Some of Oregon's Helicopters That Would Be Used to Fight Wildfires Are
Deployed to Afghanistan
By Meghan Roos On 9/10/20 at 4:55 PM EDT
Six of the military helicopters operated by the Oregon National Guard
are unavailable to help fight the wildfires currently raging throughout
the state because they were sent to Afghanistan earlier this year.
The CH-47 Chinook helicopters, which can be used to perform aerial
water drops during wildfires, traveled to Fort Hood, Texas, for
training in May along with an estimated 60 members of the Oregon
National Guard's Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment.
The six aircraft were deployed to Afghanistan after training, where
they remained for overseas missions on Thursday, Director of Public
Affairs Stephen Bomar with the Oregon Military Department told
When the mission was first announced, the aircraft were expected to
help troops replenish supplies in Afghanistan and transport equipment,
according to a May news release.
Newsweek reached out to the Department of Defense for comment but did
not receive a response in time for publication.
Though the CH-47 Chinooks are not currently available to assist with
firefighting efforts, Bomar said the Oregon Military Department is
using seven other military aircraft?including Black Hawks?to fight the
blazes. Two of the helicopters are assisting with search and rescue
efforts, four are providing aerial water drops through the use of Bambi
Buckets?which can launch anywhere between 72 and 2,600 gallons per
drop, depending on the sizes of the buckets used?and a UH-72 Lakota is
helping officials keep track of the fires' progress.
All seven of the military aircraft have been available to help with
wildfire fighting, tracking and rescue efforts since Oregon Governor
Kate Brown declared a state of emergency due to heightened wildfire
weather conditions on August 19, Bomar said.
"They have dropped more than 22,000 gallons of water since first being
activated," Bomar said of the military aircraft in use, adding that
other firefighting agencies throughout the state are also providing
aerial support. A total of 375 Oregon National Guard members who were
trained to help firefighters earlier this summer are assisting with
on-the-ground efforts as well, Bomar said.
Military aircraft like the CH-47 Chinook and the UH-72 Lakota are often
called in to help battle domestic wildfires. In addition to its water
carrying capacity?Bomar told Newsweek it can move 2,000 gallons of
water at once?the CH-47 Chinook can also transport civilians in need of
rescue. According to The Military Times, the California Military
Department helped evacuate more than 200 people during a wildfire last
week with the use of a CH-47 Chinook.
As wildfires continued raging in California on Thursday, so too did
they continue burning in Oregon. According to a statewide wildfire
database, there were 37 active fires in Oregon as of Thursday
afternoon, and Brown said during a news conference on Thursday that
nearly 900,000 acres have burned so far.
Oregon has reported an average of 500,000 acres burned by wildfires
each year since 2010, the governor said. "We've seen that nearly double
in the last three days," Brown said.
Officials instructed between 30,000 and 40,000 Oregonians to evacuate
in recent days due to the wildfires, and some fatalities have been
reported, though Brown said officials can not yet confirm the number of
fatalities or the identities of the deceased.
"We have never seen this amount of uncontained fire across our state,"
Updated 9/10 at 6:36 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to include
details on the CH-47 Chinook's water carrying capacity.
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