Aerial Firefighting training gears up in California

SHASTA COUNTY, Calif.- As we approach fire season, Cal Fire is gearing up training the next class of aerial firefighters. Today, firefighters from different agencies finishing off a two-week long aerial firefighting course by putting their skills to the test. When it comes to fighting fires, Cal Fire is at the top of their game, training students to be leaders up in the air.

“This is just their first step in their training, once they get done with this, they will go out into real fires with a qualified person,” says Beau Tipton, Captain with Cal Fire Shasta-Trinity Unit. “It’s very important that these people learn to do their job, so that they can go out and function safely over an actual fire. Captain Tipton says fighting fire from the air can bring its share of challenges.

“It depends on the fire, I mean if it’s just a couple acre fire it’s usually pretty routine, but when they get pretty complex like the Camp Fire of the Carr Fire, then it’s very stressful, there’s a lot going on,” says Captain Tipton. Eighteen students were finally able to put their skills to the test, after completing a two-week aerial training course.

“There’s really no any other training except getting in the live aircraft with live tankers, live people, and just coordinating between everyone, it really brings everything together,” says Casey Urrutia, Captain for the Cal Fire Lassen-Modoc Unit.

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