Monday afternoon (Sept. 14) I had the opportunity to meet with some of the helicopter fire crew members at the helibase at the Orofino airport. One of the chopper crew members named Jake showed me around and explained some of the tasks and responsibilities of the helicopter firefighting teams. Jane Lopez of Air Operations also took time to speak with me about the firefighting efforts and attack strategies of the chopper crews.
The helicopters were grounded Monday because of the heavy smoke in the area; Jake explained to me how certain low visibility conditions, such as were the case yesterday, keeps them from flying. I thanked the crew for all their efforts and how all of us in Clearwater County were indebted to them for engaging in such dangerous work. This photo of Jake and me shows one of the air units being used for water drops on the fires.
Clearwater County Commissioner