June 29, 2012
Helicopter firefighter crews ready for holiday weekend
Training completed for fire season
OLYMPIA – Yesterday, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources(DNR) held training for Helitack (helicopter-attack) crews in Ellensburg. Using helicopters for transportation, these specially trained crews can be transported quickly into remote and rugged areas to fight wildfires.
Helitack crews provide statewide aviation support to fire-suppression efforts throughout the fire season, which runs from April to October. DNR has staff available to support five helicopters to attack wildfires while they are small, which maximizes safety and efficiency. The aircraft can be off the ground and en route to a fire within five minutes of dispatch.
Photo and video links of Helitack training
Links show footage of helicopter operations as they would be in an actual fire response. During a fire, such footage may not be accessible to media due to remote location and safety constraints. Footage can be used with attribution to Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
DNR’s Flickr site has photos of the training.
DNR’s wildfire mission
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 12.7 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands. DNR is the state's largest on-call fire department, with over 1,000 employees trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes over 700 DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 400 seasonal employees hired for firefighting duties. Additionally, Department of Corrections’ adult offenders and Department of Social and Health Services-Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration juvenile offenders participate in the DNR Correctional Camps Program. DNR also participates in Washington's coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.
Media Contact: Janet Pearce, Community Outreach and Education, 360-902-1122, firstname.lastname@example.org
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