Three Nebraska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters equipped with “Bambi buckets” and approximately 28 personnel joined local firefighters fighting a wildfire in Keya Paha and Brown Counties at the request of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. The helicopters can scoop up water in the “Bambi buckets” from local sources and place the water where needed by ground firefighters.
The Nebraska National Guard is also preparing to send up to 35 additional guardsmen to support local firefighters if needed. In June, the state’s National Guard aviation unit deployed a UH-60 helicopter to assist the state of Colorado in fighting wildfires that forced the evacuation of thousands of people.
Gov. Dave Heineman has activated the State Emergency Operations Plan in response to the fire emergency in Brown and Keya Paha Counties. On Saturday, Heineman surveyed firsthand the affected areas in north central Nebraska and met with local responders in Ainsworth, Long Pine and Norden.
“The local communities are working very hard and are supportive of the efforts of local responders and firefighters, including providing aid in the forms of food and water,” Heineman said.
Resources from the Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska Department of Roads, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are also responding to the emergency.
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