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Montana Guard helicopters, troops to help with Washington fires

Jul. 21, 2014 - 02:03PM   |  
An American Flag waves in the breeze July 18 as a wildfire approaches in Malott, Wash.
An American Flag waves in the breeze July 18 as a wildfire approaches in Malott, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / AP)
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HELENA, MONT. — The Montana Army National Guard sent 17 soldiers and two CH-47 Chinook helicopters to Washington state to support wildfire fighting operations.

Adjutant General Matthew Quinn says mutual aid agreements between the states allow Montana resources to be used in Washington state.

A state of emergency was declared last Tuesday for 20 Washington counties due to the wildfires, which have now burned 370 square miles and at least 150 homes.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on Friday declared that a state of disaster exists in Washington that is severe enough that Montana support is warranted through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

The twin-engine cargo helicopters are capable of dropping more than 2,000 gallons of water at a time from an attached bucket. Quinn says the CH-47s departed at 8 a.m. Monday.

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