On Thursday (June 28), DNR held training for Helitack (helicopter-attack) crews in Ellensburg. Using helicopters for transportation, these specially trained crews can be quickly transported into remote and rugged areas to fight wildfires.
Large wildfires create a huge risk to health, human safety and natural resources, but they cost exponentially more to suppress as they grow in size—that is why Helitack crews are such an important part DNR’s fire program. By using Helitack crews, we can more quickly and more effectively contain wildfires throughout the state, saving tax payers money.
Helitack crews attack fires while they are small, using aircraft to transport up to six fire personnel to the fire. They can do a lot during a fire, from dumping big buckets of water directly on the flames to getting firefighters close to the fire-fight.
Providing statewide aviation support to fire suppression efforts throughout the fire season, DNR staffs five helicopters. The aircraft can be off the ground and en route to a fire within five minutes of dispatch.
Check out DNR’s Flickr site for photos of the training.
Avoid a visit from the Helitack team by following these fire safety tips for this Fourth of July:
- It is illegal to discharge fireworks on state-protected and public lands;
- Never leave a campfire unattended, and be sure it is completely out before leaving the area;
- Be sure recreational vehicles have operating spark arresters;
- Do not park any vehicles in dry, grassy areas as the heat from exhaust systems can ignite the dry grass.