Firefighters Use Helicopters to Train For Forest Fires
No smoke, no flames, but a whole lot of firefighters.
Helitack crews from the Department of Natural Resources dump thousands of gallons of water in an Ellensburg canyon today, preparing for potential summer forest fires.
Even after seven years of experience, Jacob Hardt says he is still learning every single day.
"Practicing all the skills that we are gonna need to use throughout the season to successfully fight wildland fires safely," says Jacob Hardt.
Each helicopter holds a crew of 7 people- five of which are firefighters.
And for many of them, today was their first time learning how to fight fires from the air.
Creston grant: "The thing that I like about it is they are gonna be the first to the scene of the fire because they can fly- to where engines and hand crews have to drive- so we get in there first and get the initial IA- which is initial attack," says Creston Grant.
Helitack crews practice two main training exercises-cargo loads and drops as well as bucket drops- where one of these helicopters drops 240 gallons of water at a time.
But whether crews are up above or down below- this training is all about communication.
"If they on the ground decide their tactics have to change because of something they did not see in the air than we modify those things, its a very fluid operation, we are all kinda tied together," says Pete Peterson.
Jacob Hardt says practice may not make perfect- but it makes you prepared.
"It's an ever changing environment um its a challenge, it's a challenge to take a helicopter and a crew and go into an unknown situation with limited information and make that all happen and keep our fires under 10 acres," says Hardt.