GATLINBURG (WATE) – Tennessee National Guard is jumping in to help fight fires in Gatlinburg.
CW-4 Dave Smith with 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion at McGhee-Tyson airbase says that they are flying missions Tuesday for the wildfires. Smith said they have three Blackhawks that have flown to the Gatlinburg airport. They will operate out of that airport.
Two helicopters are configured to drop water, according to Smith. He said the other helicopter is configured for rescue operations with a hoist.
Smith said a fourth helicopter , a Lakota UH-72, is flying on from Nashville. It is equipped with communications gear and FLIR (forward looking infrared) for search operations.
The 1-230th Air Cavalry Squadron is part of the Tennessee National Guard and is the only OH-58 Kiowa unit in the U.S. National Guard.