Annual fire training in California for National Guard helicopter crews

national guard helicopter fire traning
(Last Updated On: May 1, 2016)

By John Yount 

This year the annual fire suppression training for California and Nevada Air and Army National Guard helicopter crews was held April 15-17, 2016 near Sutter Creek, California. Chinook, Blackhawk, and Lakota helicopters participated in a mock fire incident using Pardee Lake as a water source.

The Guard is only activated when private sector helicopter operators cannot fill the incident commander’s resource orders for a particular type or mission specific helicopter. Usually the requests are for a Type 1 helicopter, a  Blackhawk or Chinook, that cannot be supplied by the private sector in a reasonable period of time.

national guard helicopter fire traning

The Lakota helicopter is used as a helicopter coordinator platform and for medical evacuation missions. If requested by the incident commander the Lakota can be dispatched with military medics. During the last five decades the Guard assisted on fires in almost every fire season.

national guard helicopter fire traning

The policy of teaming a Guard helicopter with a CAL FIRE military helicopter manager serving as a flight crew member has been a successful program for twenty years. The military manager not only provides tactical fire direction including initial attack on new fires but arranges for complete logistical support.  The manager works closely with a military liaison to make sure the program flows smoothly.

national guard helicopter fire traning

These photos were taken by Bob Martinez, a Volunteer in Prevention Photographer for CAL FIRE. You can see more of his work at his web site.

national guard helicopter fire traning

 

national guard helicopter fire traning

national guard helicopter fire traning

national guard helicopter fire traning

national guard helicopter fire traning

national guard helicopter fire traning

national guard helicopter fire traning

3 thoughts on “Annual fire training in California for National Guard helicopter crews”

  1. I grew up in California, Fires have always been a worry for me and my family. It is the firefighting by air that has motivated me to join Hillsboro academy. I plan on getting licensed and joining the amazing men and women that fight the fire danger from the air. thanks for the post.

  2. Just a clarification on the article about the annual fire training.

    The helicopter crews are with the Army Guard side of the house (California or Nevada) and not the Air Guard.

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