CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) – West Virginia’s only national park is on fire, and crews from across the state are sending aid.

Courtesy: Stacey Stowers

The fire started Wednesday, and as of Thursday morning, an estimated 200 acres of New River Gorge National Park were on fire, particularly in the Wild Rock area.

On Thursday morning, the West Virginia National Guard announced that at 9 a.m., it sent a crew of five soldiers and a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter from the 1-150th Assault Battalion in Wheeling to help fight the fire.

The release said that this is the first time that the West Virginia Army National Guard’s aviation
crews have been requested to provide aid to fight wildland fires.

Members of the West Virginia Army National Guard’s (WVARNG) Company C, 1st Battalion, 150th Aviation Regiment completed Bambi Bucket training for three aircrews consisting of 12 Soldiers at Camp Dawson, West Virginia, Oct. 10, 2019. This type of familiarization training ensures that aircrew members can successfully link up with civilian firefighting agencies to provide response to wildfire incidents in the State of West Virginia. (U.S. National Guard photo by Edwin Wriston)

The buckets utilized in this mission are capable of holding 550 gallons of water per scoop, or roughly 4,400 pounds of water, according to the National Guard.

Most of the state was under a Red Flag Warning or Fire Weather Warning on Wednesday, meaning that low humidity and high winds made brushfires more likely. Several fires have been reported across the state, including several in southern West Virginia like the one at the New River Gorge, and one in Harrison County.