First flight for a Washington DNR helicopter

First flight for N342WN Washington DNR helicopter
This tweet was posted by George Geissler, a Washington State Forester and Deputy Supervisor, Wildland Fire Management and Forest Resiliency.

Congratulations to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources for the first flight of their 10th helicopter. The agency began acquiring their military surplus UH-1H (B-205) ships in 1989 through the Federal Excess Property Program.

In an interview last September Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz talked about their aviation program and the addition of this helicopter. She believes in aggressive initial attack and keeping fires small:

“Helicopters are number one in initial attack and being able to get on top of fires quickly, get them contained, and help our firefighters get in safely… And then we can put the fire out and move on to the next one.”

Washington DNR acquiring their 10th helicopter

Their fleet is comprised of military surplus UH-1H ships

Washington DNR UH-1 Huey
A Washington DNR Huey. Photo by Washington DNR.

The Washington state Department of Natural Resources will be acquiring their tenth helicopter. The agency began acquiring their military surplus UH-1H (B-205) ships in 1989.

Last year we wrote a profile of the Washington DNR helicopter program.

SEAT makes hard landing while fighting wildfire in Washington

Pilot self-extricates, was transported hospital

On August 14 a Single Engine Air Tanker made a forced hard landing while working on the Horns Mountain Fire in Northern Washington. The pilot was transported to a hospital.

Air Spray USA, Inc, the company that owns the aircraft, stated:

The aircraft experienced an unknown problem on the fire it was working near the US/Canadian border. The pilot executed a forced landing on a logging road and was able to exit the aircraft. He was transported to the hospital. No other information is available at this time. An investigation is in process.

Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz said on Twitter that the pilot is OK and receiving medical attention.

KXLY reported that the Department of Natural Resources told them the pilot survived the crash and was able to crawl to a nearby road to get help.

The aircraft was one of five amphibious FireBoss air tankers assigned to the fire Tuesday.

map Horns Mountain Fire
Map showing the location of the Horns Mountain Fire.

The lightning-caused fire has burned 832 acres in Washington southeast of Christina Lake, BC since it started August 11.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Robert.
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