Behind the scenes with Nevada's forest fire fighters

The Nevada Division of Forestry relies heavily on its fleet of helicopters, not just for fire duties. Martin Scharenborg and Ramon Wenink flew with the Nevada Division of Forestry Aviation Services to learn about its mission

With thousands of wildfires each year in the United States, the value of airborne assets has long been acknowledged. Founded in 1957, the Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF), began its own aviation programme as early as 1959, converting a Beechcraft C-45 Torpedo bomber into an air tanker for firefighting. It took another 15 years before the first helicopters appeared in the division, acquired with the assistance of the US Forest Service. Three Bell TH-13Ts from surplus US Army stocks entered service in 1974, primarily for aerial fire reconnaissance. Although there was a pressing need for a strong and capable firefighting helicopter, the three Sioux helicopters soldiered on, remaining in service until 1991.

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