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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 354-98
July 09, 1998

UPDATE -- DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DOD) SUPPORTS FLORIDA FIRE FIGHTING

Using its special airlift capabilities, the Department of Defense continues to provide significant support to Florida state authorities in their effort to contain wildfires.

During July 3-6, DoD air mobility assets flew 17 missions to airlift 258 civilian firefighters and civilian firefighting equipment, including 74 fire trucks, from California, Oregon, and South Dakota to locations in Florida. Additionally, an Air Force officer was dispatched to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) at Boise, Idaho, to serve as the DoD liaison to assist with NIFC support to the Florida fire fighting efforts.

The National Guard is currently helping to fight the fire by providing approximately 1,443 Army and 83 Air National Guard personnel, 10 civilian Florida National Guard personnel, as well as 15 UH-60 helicopters, two CH-47 helicopters, two OH-58 helicopters, 12 bulldozers, two 5,000-gallon water trucks, one fuel tanker, one pumper tanker, numerous High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) and one fire truck.

In addition, the active duty component is providing 15 soldiers and 24 civilian personnel to operate DoD equipment engaged in fire fighting missions and to provide other support. This includes a 7-man Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) co-located at Tallahassee, Florida, to coordinate overall military support. DoD has also provided an HMMWV refitted to provide foam suppression and nine bulldozers with trail plows. Last week, the U.S. Marine Corps provided a 33-man team and bridging material to build a medium girder bridge to provided safer and quicker access to fire areas.

Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Fla., designated as the base support installation, has been the terminus for more than 1.2 million pounds of equipment and 712 personnel. This has included staging support to members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and firefighters from the military and U.S. Forest Service as well as civilian volunteer firefighters.

DoD will continue to respond to requests for support as identified.