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Fort Riley Medevac Crews Helping with Northwest Wildfires

Fort Riley, Kansas
Fort Riley, Kansas

Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kan., are in Washington State this week providing medical evacuation support for firefighters battling massive wildfires. Master Sergeant Michael Lavigne (la-VEEEN) says it’s unusual for the Army’s medevac units to be called upon for this type of mission. "It's an incredible story out there right now," Lavigne said. "I believe this is the first time since 2006 that we've been called upon to assist firefighting efforts." Sergeant Lavigne says Fort Riley’s medevac personnel are capable of providing support in any type of emergency. "Flying in and taking care of casualties is what they're trained to do so it really doesn't matter if it's a battlefield in Afghanistan or a forest in Northeastern Washington, they're trained, they're ready, they’re prepared." Lavigne says, because of Fort Riley’s central location, its soldiers are capable of quickly responding to emergencies anywhere in the country. Numerous firefighters have been injured and three have been killed in recent weeks battling the nearly 100 wildfires burning more than a million acres throughout the Northwest.

Tom Parkinson is the host of KPR's Morning Edition.