NY National Guard helicopter crews rehearse firefighting drills below Bear Mountain Bridge on April 18

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A National Guard UH-60 drops water during firefighting mission on July 13, 2018. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Andrew Valenza

LATHAM, NY (04/17/2019) (readMedia)-- New York Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crews based at Long Island McArthur Airport will be conducting water bucket training over the Hudson River just south of the Bear Mountain Bridge on Thursday, April 18.

The training will be conducted around noon if weather conditions permit.

Two UH-60 helicopters will be involved in the training mission. They will be basing out of the nearby Camp Smith Training Area.

The helicopter crews will use the buckets, known by the trademarked name of Bambi Bucket, to scoop up water from Hudson River and drop it back into the river. This allows them to practice the same techniques used to extinguish wildfires.

The collapsible buckets, which are hung underneath the helicopters, can dump 660 gallons of water on a fire each time they are used.

Each year as summer begins Army National Guard helicopter crew members and maintenance personnel retrain on how to attach the buckets to Black Hawk helicopters and then practice picking up water and dumping it.

The training is necessary because a bucket full of water weights two tons and helicopter pilots need to practice flying with that additional weight hanging under their aircraft in order to fly safely in an emergency.

The New York Army National Guard employs helicopter firefighting equipment when requested by state officials. Most firefighting is conducted by New York State Police helicopters.

In July 2018, two Army National Guard UH-60 helicopters assisted in fighting a 526 acre fire in Flatrock State Forest near Plattsburgh. The UH-60s dropped 100,000 gallons of water on the fire.

More than 200 people, including crews from Quebec and Vermont were part of the response.