Firefighting helicopter returns to Truckee
June 17, 2009
TRUCKEE and#8212; A firefighting helicopter aimed at responding to local forest fires will call Truckee Tahoe Airport home again this summer.
After the previous summer’s Angora Fire in South Lake Tahoe, the U.S. Forest Service and the Truckee Tahoe Airport worked together to station a large, water-dropping helicopter at Truckee’s air field, ready to respond to blazes throughout the West.
In April 2008, Dickson, helicopter superintendent for the Forest Service, said, and#8220;We think we are looking at a very active fire season.and#8221; She was right.
and#8220;The helicopter was actually here for about a total of a week,and#8221; said Airport General Manager Dave Gotschall Tuesday.
While the private helicopter contracted by the Forest Service ranged across the western United States last summer, when in Truckee it promises faster response times to local fires, Dickson said in a previous interview, compared to the next-closest air-attack base in Whitecloud, near Nevada City.
This summer the helicopter is scheduled to set down in Truckee July 1, Dickson said, on a 90-day contract.
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The Boeing Vertol 107, a helicopter similar to the military’s Chinook, has already seen action this year, Dickson said.
and#8220;That aircraft spent from the last weeks in February through May in Florida and Texas. It’s been quite the early season,and#8221; Dickson said.
And she said she’s expecting another busy season here.
Gotschall said he received no negative public input on having the large helicopter stationed in Truckee last year.
and#8220;I think people get it’s for the common good. I think it’s reassuring that something may be close,and#8221; Gotschall said.
Other nearby airborne firefighting resources besides the Truckee helicopter and the helicopters at Whitecloud include CalFire and Forest Service air tankers based out of Grass Valley and CalFire helicopters in Toulumne County.