About three dozen local N.C. Air National Guardsmen left for Colorado on Saturday to help fight the massive wildfires that have destroyed property and killed two people.
The Charlotte-based 145th Airlift sent two aircraft equipped with fire-fighting equipment, along with a third unit that carried support personnel and equipment, according to a news release.
The local guardsmen were expected to join other Air National Guard’s teams from Wyoming and California, as well as a U.S. Air Force Reserve’s wing based in Colorado.
The 26-square-mile Waldo Canyon fire, one of many burning across the West, is 30 percent contained. Investigators haven’t been able to visit the area where the fire broke out on June 23 to determine the cause.
About 10,000 people remain evacuated, down from more than 30,000 at the fire’s peak.
Officials said the 145th Wing is one of four units in the county that’s tasked with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, which can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds. The system is a joint effort of the Department of Defense and U.S. Forest Service program. The Associated Press contributed.