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Portland, OR—PORTLAND, Ore. – Twenty Airmen with the Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Wing have departed Portland en route to support wildland fire fighting efforts across the state of Oregon.

This effort from the Oregon Military Department is a part of Operation Plan (OPLAN) Smokey, an effort by the state whose focus is to fight wildland fires with a combined force of guardsmen, firefighters, and emergency operators.

Oregon Air National Guard Master Sgt. Bernard Untalan, 142nd Wing OPLAN Smokey Coordinator, says these deployments have a profound effect on the Airmen.

“OPLAN Smokey is a tremendous and meaningful opportunity for our citizen-airmen to assist our state during its most dire hour. The impact of their work protects lives, structures, and thousands of acres of beautiful Oregon land.”

These Airmen are part of 115 Oregon National Guardsmen from both the Army and Air National Guard that were requested by the Oregon Department of Forestry on August 11 to support efforts at the Rough Patch and Bootleg Fires. Oregon Army National Guard UH-60 and HH-60 Blackhawk helicopters are also currently deployed with crews helping to extinguish fires. So far this year, Oregon National Guard helicopters have dropped more than 225,000 gallons of water on wildfires throughout the state.

Other Guardsmen are providing supporting efforts in the Joint Operations Center, and two 116th Air Control Squadron Airmen are providing air control support at a helipad in Roseburg.

Normally OPLAN Smokey tours can last up to two weeks before the guardsmen are redeployed back to their home stations or replaced by other guardsmen to continue the mission.

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Photo caption:

Oregon Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Joshua Pousson, 142nd Maintenance Group, leads a group of Airmen departing Portland Air National Guard Base, Portland, Ore., in support of OPLAN Smokey, OPLAN Smokey requires Airmen to be ready at a moment’s notice to help with state-wide wildfire relief efforts. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Staff. Sgt. Alexander Frank)

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