Aug. 14 (UPI) — Two U.S. CH-47 Chinook helicopters have arrived in Turkey to help the country suppress major wildfires.
The helicopters, along with 18 crew members, arrived Friday at Dalaman Airport in Mugla, a city in southwestern Turkey, according to a statement from U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David M. Satterfield.
Beginning in late July, fires have burned across Turkey as the country has experienced particularly hot and dry conditions, burning 235,000 acres as of last week.
They’ve caused the deaths of several people, including firefighters, and triggered evacuations.
Both the U.S. Europe and U.S. Army Europe and Africa commands were involved with bringing the helicopters to Turkey, as they can haul up to 7,500 liters of water per load using “Bambi buckets.”
The ambassador’s statement emphasized the strong relationship between the U.S. and Turkey, which it noted helped the U.S. with personal protective equipment early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This action is another example of mutual steps that strengthen the deep U.S.-Turkey alliance and is an investment in our partnership and bilateral relationship,” the statement said. “We are committed to our friend and NATO ally Turkey. We are stronger together.”
Nearby Greece is also facing large fires brought on by hot temperatures and gusty winds that have forced evacuations and fire crews to retreat.
With Greek fire crews struggling to contain a large fire on the country’s second-largest island, the U.S. Navy has sent a Boeing P-8 Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft to assist with efforts, reported Stars and Stripes.