A first-hand look at how Army National Guard helicopter crews fight massive forest fires

With the increasing number of forest fires on the West Coast, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has had to ask the California National Guard for help containing the blazes.

Soldiers of the National Guard have been called in to assist both on the ground and in the air. Chinook crews have been flying missions to drop water from nearby lakes onto the wildfires. Here’s what they see while completing their mission.

Helicopter crews pick up water from lakes in Bambi Buckets, large water carriers with remote-operated valves.

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Video Still: California National Guard Staff Sgt. Edward Siguenza

Once they have the water, the crews target areas where the fire is attempting to spread.

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Video Still: California National Guard Staff Sgt. Edward Siguenza

The crews map out nearby water features and plan their flights so they can refill and return to the fire as quickly as possible.

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Video Still: California National Guard Staff Sgt. Edward Siguenza

The pilots’ navigation equipment was designed for war and provides more than enough information for them to navigate on the objective.

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Video Still: California National Guard Staff Sgt. Edward Siguenza

The crew assist the pilots in targeting the fire and aiming the water.

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Video Still: California National Guard Staff Sgt. Edward Siguenza

These images and the below video were taken from the California Rocky Fire which burned for 16 days and consumed over 69,000 acres. 96 buildings were destroyed and 8 damaged before it was contained.

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Video Still: California National Guard Staff Sgt. Edward Siguenza

Check out the video below to see the California National Guard crews go through their mission.

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NOW: This remarkable video shows what it’s like for Medevac crews to rescue troops under fire >

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