Mon, Aug 20, 2012
Services Help Out As Wildfire Continue To Burn In Southern California
Helicopters from the Air National Guard and the U.S. Navy have been helping fire crews in California battle a series of wildfires in the southern part of the state.
Air National Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing have been demonstrating their dynamic life-saving capabilities by fighting fires in California since Sunday, August 12. Two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and aircrews are battling the Jawbone Complex Fire in Kern County, CA, outside Bakersfield in Southern California. The aircrews are currently based out of the Tehachapi Municipal Airport in Tehachapi, CA.
After three days of fighting the Jawbone Complex Fire, 129th aircrews have performed more than 120 bucket drops for a total of 58,000 gallons of water dropped. Each bucket drop is approximately 500 gallons. "Our HH-60G rescue helicopters are performing precision airdrops of water to help contain wildfires in California," said Col. Steven J. Butow, 129th Rescue Wing commander. "This is a great example of the use of airpower in the homeland to save lives and property."
Earlier this year, 129th aircrews performed annual certification for performing bucket drops. The training the aircrews received is in accordance with the California Interagency Military Helicopter Firefighting Program and was provided by certified instructors with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Aircrews have received water bucket training since they were initially certified to perform water bucket drops in 2008.
Near San Diego, Navy helicopters teamed with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection units Aug. 15 to conduct aerial firefighting against several wildfires in eastern San Diego County.
At CALFIRE's request for immediate response support, the Navy is providing three firefighting helicopters equipped with buckets for aerial water drops to support firefighting efforts in San Diego County. Helicopter Sea Combat squadrons 3 and 21 are providing aircrews flying specially equipped MH-60S helicopters to assist CALFIRE in conducting aerial water drops.
Navy HSC squadrons regularly train for this mission and are prepared to conduct firefighting missions at the Navy's Southern California offshore training ranges, and they conduct semiannual joint training with CALFIRE to ensure interoperability and an immediate response capability in support of local authorities for emergency events.
(DoD Photos Top: ANG Pave Hawk, Bottom: Navy MH-60S)
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