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National Guard unit returns to wildfire fighting

CHARLOTTE, NC(AP) — The 145th Airlift Wing of the North Carolina Air National Guard is resuming fighting wildfires in the West, six weeks after four of the unit’s airmen died while fighting a fire in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The unit’s operations commander, Col. Roger Williams, says it’s important for the Charlotte-based unit to get back to the critical mission.

The 145th will send two aircraft and 16 airmen to Boise, Idado. They will fight fires at the direction of the U.S. Forest Service starting Tuesday.

Three groups of North Carolina airmen will rotate from Charlotte to Boise and back through Sept. 4.

A C-130 equipped with a firefighting system was battling a fire near Edgemont, S.D., on July 1 when it crashed, killing four and severely injuring two others.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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