U.S. Navy helicopters assist with the fires in southern California

MH-60S Seahawk
An MH-60S Seahawk with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3 lifts off from Camp Pendleton May 15 to assist the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Joan E. Jennings)

A total of 19 military helicopters are providing fire suppression support to firefighters in southern California, including eight Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, seven CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters and four UH-1Y Huey helicopters.

A report from the military:

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“SAN DIEGO – Six flight crews from the “Merlins” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3 provided firefighting support to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) in response to wildfires throughout San Diego County May 15.

At the request of CAL FIRE, the six specially-equipped MH-60S Seahawks are supporting firefighting efforts in the vicinity of Camp Pendleton, Calif. by conducting aerial water drops.

“The critical part of our role is supporting CAL FIRE to help save lives, prevent human suffering and mitigate great property damage,” said Lt. Cmdr. Todd Stansfield, Third Fleet’s Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) lead. “We have Navy personnel and their families that live and work in the areas of San Diego threatened by the fires. Our efforts support both our people and the communities we live in.”

In August 2011, U.S. Third Fleet, Naval Air Forces Pacific and Navy Region Southwest entered into a memorandum of understanding with CALFIRE. Under the agreement, naval units provide helicopters when notified by CALFIRE of weather conditions favorable to wildfires.

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Wing Pacific prepares ready, trained and certified resources to combat wildfires and crews conduct semi-annual training with CAL FIRE to ensure an immediate response capability in support of local authorities for emergency events. The assigned crews are capable of being airborne within four hours of receiving a request for assistance to combat fires.”

One thought on “U.S. Navy helicopters assist with the fires in southern California”

  1. Great article. I live in Southern CA and appreciate the fact that the Military helped out in a very dangerous time for a lot of people. I can’t image how much more damage would have been done without them!

    It’s going to be a very bad year for fires and with the loss of a lot of large tankers it’s going to be a long fight for the ground folks. Thank you for being there to fight mother nature!

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