CAL FIRE to Train National Guard in Firefighting Operations

 

Sacramento – Every year California is plagued by wildfires that char hundreds of thousands of acres, destroy countless homes and wreak havoc on communities. To ensure every available resource is used to battle major fire sieges, CAL FIRE and the California National Guard train together each year to provide additional staffing and resources on the frontlines. 

The annual California Interagency Military Helicopter Fire Fighting Program training will be held Friday, April 15 to Sunday, April 17, 2011 at the CAL FIRE Academy in Ione and at Lake Pardee in Amador County. During the training CAL FIRE instructs National Guard helicopter pilots and crewmembers in basic incident management and firefighting operations, so they can safely assist CAL FIRE during major fire sieges like those California faced in 2007 and 2008.

“CAL FIRE has the largest aerial firefighting fleet in the world with just over 50 fixed and rotary wing aircraft,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, acting director of CAL FIRE. “But when major firestorms occur we need every available resource to assist us and that is why it is so important we train with the National Guard now, so they can bolster our air response when those sieges happen

"The wildfires have emerged as one of our greatest domestic missions in recent years, so this training is invaluable in ensuring we face that challenge successfully," said Maj. Thomas Keegan, public affairs officer for the California National Guard. "Our longstanding partnership with CalEma, CAL FIRE, and other first responders has only improved the effectiveness of our organizations."

Since 1995, CAL FIRE and the California National Guard have conducted joint training prior to the beginning of annual peak wildfire activity.


Media Availability
Who: CAL FIRE
What: Fire Agency personnel who will fly along on National Guard helicopters will train on how to safely escape a helicopter should it crash and go under water. Students will practice being submerged upside down under water in a training helicopter cockpit and have to safely and quickly escape. There is viewing of the training from an underwater observatory room.
Where: CHP Academy, 3500 Reed Ave., West Sacramento
When: Friday, April 15, 2011 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Who: CAL FIRE and California National Guard
What: Training and instruction with military helicopters on the ability to collect and drop water during wildland firefighting efforts and to safely integrate into fireground operations.
Where: CAL FIRE Academy, 4501 Highway 104, Ione & Lake Pardee
When: Saturday, April 16, 2011 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photos

 
A Blackhawk military helicopter prepares for takeoff.   A Chinook military helicopter drops down for a refill from Lake Paradee in Northern California.
 
Two Blackhawk military helicopters prepare to drop water.

Photos by Wes Schultz, CAL FIRE. Click on the photo for a higher resolution copy.

 

 

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