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/Megan Crusher

‘The Spirit of Ronald Reagan’ gets nose art

U.S. Air Force photo/Megan Crusher Col. Russell Muncy, commander, 452nd Air Mobility Wing, March Air Reserve Base, California, and U.S. Congressman Ken Calvert, California’s 42nd district, unveil C-17 original nose art, creat...
 
 
AFN courtesy photo

Hollywood’s Oscar shout outs for U.S. military

AFN courtesy photo From left, Eric Gabriel, Army Maj. Rosy Poulos, Patrice “Rock” Grant, Air Force Staff Sgt. Rob Harden and Fabian Montgomery, American Forces Network employees, work the red carpet at the Oscars to provide...
 
 

452 AMW QUARTERLY AWARD WINNERS

2nd Lt. Jim Lambert, 452nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Company Grade Officer of the Quarter Senior Airman Anahi Ledezma, 452nd Communications Squadron Airman of the Quarter Staff Sgt. Paul Bugar, 729th Airlift Squadron NCO of the Quarter Master Sgt. John R. Hershey Jr., 752nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron SNCO of the Quarter
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo / Megan Crusher

March Field FES hosts Riverside County Chief’s Association meeting

U.S. Air Force photo / Megan Crusher Eliot M. Cooper (center), assistant fire chief and C. Christianson (left), assistant chief of training, give Patrick Reitz, fire chief, Idyllwild Fire Protection District, a tour of the Marc...
 
 
163rd Security Forces Squadron courtesy photo

March Airmen respond to helicopter crash

163rd Security Forces Squadron courtesy photo A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter rests on its side at Ramona Airport, Ramona, California, Jan. 20, 2015, after crashing. Seven Airmen from the 163rd Reconnaissance Wing’s Security For...
 
 
Figure-2

Dietary supplements: How safe are they really?

Walk into a health food store today and you can be overwhelmed by shelves piled with dietary supplements. What’s going on? For the past ten years the popularity of dietary supplements has increased steadily. Supplements are a...
 




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