By Kaelyn Floyd
The Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) joined the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) and other Southern California regional agencies in air operations trainings that focused on night wildland fire and night vision goggle drills. During the week of July 8, 2019, the Angeles National Forest (ANF) and the Los Padres National Forest (LPNF) each hosted the trainings to prepare first responders for future emergency incidents.
The LACoFD, Los Angeles City Fire Department, OCFA and ANF participated in the first training at Lopez Canyon Helispot near the Barton Heliport on Tuesday, July 9. Two days later, the LACoFD and LPNF took part in the second training at Chuchupate Heliport near Gorman. Both drills featured simulated emergency scenarios for crews to collaborate and increase fire suppression effectiveness during night-time operations when temperatures and wind conditions are more favorable.
The trainings resulted from the OCFA’s recent lease of two Sikorsky aircraft as part of their new aerial firefighting pilot program funded by Southern California Edison. The aircraft will serve Edison’s 50,000 square-mile service area over the next five months.
The Department and other federal, state and local government agencies can also request the firefighting aircraft as part of a mutual aid agreement.