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NEWS | April 9, 2024

Texas Air Guard Deploys MQ-9 to Help Fight Wildfires

By Sean Cowher, 147th Attack Wing (Texas Air National Guard)

HOUSTON - The Texas Air National Guard deployed an uncrewed aerial system in March to help the Texas Department of Emergency Management and local fire departments combat fires that engulfed the Panhandle region.

Equipped with advanced sensors and imaging technology, the MQ-9 deployed by the 147th Attack Wing provided real-time intelligence and situational awareness to ground crews battling the flames. 

Operated remotely from Ellington Field in Houston, the highly trained 147th pilots and sensor operators used advanced video distribution software to analyze and distribute critical data, aiding in strategic decision-making and the allocation of resources.

“The Smokehouse Creek Fire posed an unprecedented threat to our communities and natural landscapes,” said Brig. Gen. Andrew Camacho, deputy adjutant general for Air. “By leveraging the capabilities of the MQ-9 and partnering with Texas agencies, we are committed to supporting firefighting efforts and protecting the lives and property of our fellow Texans.”

Texas Forestry Service personnel, alongside local fire firefighters and emergency management officials, have worked tirelessly on the ground, guided by the intelligence provided by the MQ-9 overhead.

As the firefighting operations persist, the collaborative efforts of the military and civilian organizations continue in the fight against one of the most formidable wildfires in state history.



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