DNR’s helicopter firefighter crews are prepared for holiday weekend

During fire season, DNR helicopters can be off the ground and enroute to a fire within 5 minutes of dispatch. PHOTO: Janet Pearce
During fire season, DNR helicopters can be off the ground and enroute to a fire within 5 minutes of dispatch. PHOTO: Janet Pearce

Yesterday afternoon, helicopter firefighter crews trained in Colville to get ready for the Fourth of July weekend and the rest of the summer. The extended weekend brings more people into the woods, which increases risks of accidental fire starts. 

On Wednesday, June 26, DNR held training for Helitack (helicopter-attack) crews in Colville. 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, and 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 effectively contain wildfires throughout the state, saving taxpayers 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. 

Helitack crew ties down the rotor for safety when the helicopter is not in use. PHOTO: Janet Pearce
Helitack crew ties down the rotor for safety when the helicopter is not in use. PHOTO: Janet Pearce

Providing statewide aviation support to fire suppression efforts throughout the fire season, DNR staffs five helicopters. The aircraft can be off the ground and enroute to a fire within five minutes of dispatch.

Here’s a look at the history and training DNR Helitack Program, with more photos and what it takes to get one of these jobs.

Check out DNR’s Flickr site for photos of the training.

 

Follow DNR on: Facebook Fan See us on Flickr Watch us YouTube Follow us on Twitter Follow DNR Fire Twitter Join in the DNR Forum