MEDICINE LODGE, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas National Guard has sent two helicopters to help local firefighters battle wildfires burning about 20-25 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge in Barber County.

The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the Kansas National Guard's 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation out of Salina are equipped with collapsible 660-gallon water buckets, the agency said in a news release Wednesday.

The Kansas Forest Service has also deployed an air tanker to make water drops.

Gov. Laura Kelly has issued a disaster declaration for the fires.

“The efforts of firefighters on the front line of the fire demonstrate their dedication to protecting their communities in light of the many challenges we face with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mark Neely, state fire management officer.

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