California National Guard officials say they will honor a request from the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection and will begin deploying several of its aircraft Monday to support local, state and federal firefighters trying to extinguish fires in Northern and Southern California.
"The Cal Guard trains alongside CAL FIRE and Cal OES year-round for days like today," said Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, Adjutant General for the California National Guard. "This is a true team effort. Our air crews are geared up and ready to support CAL FIRE wherever they might need us."Photo courtesy Cal Guard
Information from Cal Guard noted that an Army Black Hawk and two Air Force Pave Hawk helicopters are to be stationed in Northern California and three Black Hawks and two Air Force C-130J air-tankers will be assigned to Southern California.
"Specialized aircraft like these provide firefighters another tactical resource to help limit the impacts of aggressive wildfires," said Mark Ghilarducci, director of Cal OES. "The role of the California National Guard in the state’s mutual aid system is a significant one, especially during fire season." Photo courtesy Cal Guard
"We are appreciative of the support our California National Guard partners provide us during periods of high fire activity," said Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott. "Our strong relationship and regular training drills make accessing resources like the MAFFS and Guard helicopters seamless when multiple fires are keeping us so busy."
Photo courtesy Cal Guard
Cal Guard officials said the role of helicopter crews is to provide water drop, medical evacuation and transportation support. The air-tankers can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds and cover an area one quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide in a single pass.