Members of the North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing are again fighting wildfires in the western US this summer. Members of the Charlotte-based unit were first dispatched to Arizona, and are now in Idaho. It's the same unit that lost four crew members in a crash in South Dakota last summer.
Pilot Kevin Harkey says he's glad to again be dropping retardant on fires, but says he still thinks every day about the aviators who died.
"You want to get back into it because you want those guys' legacy to live on and you want the unit to recover. But at the same time, you do a lot of soul searching yourself and you realize this really is challenging mission," said Harkey.
About a dozen members of the North Carolina Guard are currently stationed at the air base at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.