CAL FIRE Aviation: The Golden State’s Flying Fire Department

Wildfire-prone California’s forestry and fire service has employed aircraft for firefighting since the 1950s. Long-time users of surplus military aircraft, CAL FIRE is in the process of a major modernisation programme and is acquiring heavy tankers and new helicopters, as Tom Kaminski reports.

A Super Huey from the Columbia Air Attack/Helitack base in central California, prepares to deliver a load of water from a bambi bucket on a wildfire near Yosemite National Park.

Known as the ‘Golden State’, California is the third largest of the United States and if its economy was ranked against countries it would be the fifth most prosperous ‘nation’ in the world. The state’s diverse geography and varied topography includes dense forests, farmland, deserts and arid mountains.

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