DNR Fire Aviation Program
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DNR Fire Aviation Program 
DNR Helicopter Landing at Easton Helibase  

DNR FIRE AVIATION PROGRAM

Washington State Helitack Crew is an elite firefighting team available for rapid response to wildland fires. The Helitack Crew consists of 32 crewmembers including, a Base Manager, 2 Assistant Base Managers, a Transportation Supervisor, 4 Helicopter Managers, 6 Squad Leaders, 10 firefighters, and 8 Support Drivers. Currently, the program staffs 5-6 initial attack helicopters on a daily basis. Crews are available for dispatch throughout all of Washington State. Aircraft are off the ground and en route to the fire within five minutes of dispatch.

During the summer, crews are staged in multiple locations throughout the state based on fire danger, red flag warnings, lightning, and general pre-suppression needs. Crews must be ready and available to be deployed away from the Ellensburg base for up to 14 days at a moment’s notice. In the past, some of these locations have included: Omak, Colville, Deer Park, Dallesport, Pomeroy, Wenatchee, and Olympia.

Helicopters are dispatched using the following criteria:

  • Wildfire threat to human life
  • Wildfire threat to natural resources  
  • Wildfire threat to developed property

Though the top priority is initial attack, DNR helicopters can be used for extended attack or large wildfire incident support provided that they can immediately be reassigned to initial attack duties when the need arises. The initial attack is key to DNR's goal, which is keeping the wildfires less than ten acres in size.

View the Helitack photos on Flickr
Employment with DNR Fire Aviation Program (91KB PDF)
History of DNR Fire Aviation Program (245KB PDF)

Providing Equipment & Services for Fire Suppression

Call When Needed Contractors

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 Contacts

Resource Protection Division
General Questions & Information
Washington State Department of Natural Resources
360-902-1300
Fax 360-902-1757
RPD@dnr.wa.gov

Dan Boyle
Helicopter Coordinator
509-925-0967
dan.boyle@dnr.wa.gov

Robert Hedrick
Fire Aviation Program Manager
360-902-1736
robert.hedrick@dnr.wa.gov

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