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Saturday, April 13, 2013

CAL FIRE and the California National Guard annual joint aircraft training

CAL FIRE and National Guard Train for Fire Season
CAL FIRE and the California National Guard have a long standing cooperative relationship that has spanned over three decades.

Before the start of the fire season, the California Army National Guard and Cal Fire conduct a range of training from bucket drops to radio communications, for new and current team members. A requirement for pilots is 500 hours of aircraft commander time.
California National Guard. Huey Working Robbers Fire 2012

The annual joint helicopter training that began Friday, April 12 and will go through Sunday, April 14, 2012 at the CAL FIRE Academy in Ione in addition to Lake Pardee in Amador County.
"This training allows us to call upon the National Guard helicopters to assist us when California experiences extreme fire conditions," "Last Summer, the Guard helped us battle several large wildfires." - said Chief Ken Pimlott, director of CAL FIRE. 

"This cooperative training is crucial to our fight against the imminent California wildfires," "Our long-standing partnership with CAL FIRE and other state agencies has proved a winning combination; our interagency training translates into maximized preparedness and seamless cooperation when the fires inevitably hit." - 
 said Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, adjutant general for the California National Guard.
Each year, the two departments join forces to train military pilots on how to effectively make water drops on wildfires and how to safely integrate into a wildfire situations. CAL FIRE will be instructing National Guard helicopter pilots and crewmembers in basic incident management and firefighting operations so they can safely assist CAL FIRE in battling massive wildfires. 

"By training military pilots to fly fire missions, CAL FIRE ensures that California has every available air resource when major firestorms occur,"  - said Chief Ken Pimlott.

CAL FIRE has the largest aerial firefighting fleet in the world with over 50 aircraft including 11 UH-1H Super Huey helicopters.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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