Air Force

September 6, 2013

163rd Reconnaissance Wing and CAL FIRE make history

Tags:
Elan Head
Vertical Magazine

Col. Dana Hessheimer, commander, 163rd Reconnaissance Wing, California Air National Guard, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., briefs the joint task force on an upcoming sortie over the fires in Yosemite National Park, Calif. The wing joined with CAL FIRE to make history by using the MQ-1 Predator to help in firefighting efforts.

Touted as a “mega-fire”, the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park, Calif., is the fourth largest wildfire in California history. In order to battle the blaze, incident commanders from CAL FIRE made a historic request, to have a remotely piloted aircraft fly overhead to provide 24/7 real time video of the fire and its progression.

Predators from the 163d Reconnaissance Wing of the California Air National Guard, flew the first, sustained use of a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) in wild land firefighting efforts in the continental U.S. The MQ-1 Predator has the ability to fly over the fire for approximately 20 hours per day, transmitting real-time electro-optic (EO) and infra-red (IR) video that is helping CAL FIRE incident commanders on the ground make more informed decisions to help save property, infrastructure and most importantly lives.

“In the first 30 to 45 minutes, I saw more of the fire than I had in four days of hiking it,” said CAL FIRE Capt. Jeremy Salizonni, who is the embedded, fire behavioral analyst at the 163d RW. Salizonni said that the Predator provided unparalleled images that he described as nothing short of miraculous. “We were able to isolate, identify and act upon spot fires, that would have become extensions of the fire, in minutes, not hours,” he said.

CAL FIRE has said the use of the Predator has given them the opportunity to gain new insights into extreme fire behavior. On video from the Rim Fire, Salizonni said, “I’ve seen active, crown fire runs at 0400 hours — that’s something I haven’t seen before.”

The real time video has also provided the ability for fire managers to keep an eye on the progression of fires enabling a higher safety rating for crews on the ground. Colonel Dana Hessheimer, 163d Reconnaissance Wing commander, has described the use of the Predator as “game changer” in assisting civilian entities fighting wild land fires.

“We knew what our capabilities were, but it was hard to showcase them,” Hessheimer said.

Salizonni is optimistic in the greater use of RPA going forward to combat extreme, mega-fires in the future. “I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of its capabilities for public safety,” he said.

(This article was submitted by and is being printed with the permission of the 163rd RW public affairs office.)




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Marvin Tucker

452 APS hosts Marine training operation

U.S. Air Force photo/Marvin Tucker Senior Master Sgt. Rick Fowler inspects a tie-down chain during a training exercise held at March ARB, July 21. The exercise allowed Marines from Camp Pendleton to apply mission essential task...
 
 

Social media requires caution with political material

Most Americans are born with a political rattle in their hands, and learn to shake it early. While U.S. culture promotes opinions and debate, the Department of Defense (DOD), U.S. Air Force and Air Reserve Personnel Center wish to remind Airmen that, while on active duty – and even for reservists who may be perceived...
 
 

‘Final Rule’ offers broader mental health care coverage

WASHINGTON – TRICARE military health plan beneficiaries will now have access to both TRICARE-certified mental health counselors and supervised mental health counselors, a Defense Health Agency (DHA) official said here today. In an interview with DOD News, Dr. John Davison, DHA’s behavioral health branch chief, said the so-called “Final Rule,” published yesterday, will go into...
 

 
photo courtesy/U.S. Central Command

Development course builds leadership skills for reserve officers

photo courtesy/U.S. Central Command The 20th annual International Junior Officer Leadership Development Course (IJOLD) took place at Karup Air Base, Denmark, where officers from seven countries participated in events to develop...
 
 

March Air Reserve Base Child Care Program

March Air Reserve Base offers the Home Community Care (HCC) Program to the Air Force Reserve (AFR) and the Air National Guard (ANG) members during the primary Unit Training Assembly (UTA) drill weekends. March has four HCC program providers who are state licensed child care providers. Care may also be requested to use during a...
 
 
Press Enterprise photo/Stan Lim

Air traffic controllers spreading their wings in new tower

Press Enterprise photo/Stan Lim Frank Giuchici, one of the air traffic controllers at March Air Reserve Base, peers out on the flight line while monitoring military and civilian planes from the new control tower at the base. Ma...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin