The Gila National Forest contracts a Type 3 helicopter for a little over 100 days during the season. The contract can be extended depending on the need and availability of the aircraft. The helicopter is used for operations such as initial attack, crew and equipment transport, large fire support, and aerial ignitions. The helicopter and helitack crew are positioned at the Grant County Airport where the Air Tanker Base, Cache, Smokejumpers and a Single Engine Air Tanker are also located. Over the past two weeks, employees participated in helicopter training operations in Silver City and Glenwood, NM, to increase their proficiency in managing external cargo loads with the aircraft.
The forecast shows a cooler than normal weather pattern through the weekend and then drying and warming some next week. Whatever the weather may bring, firefighters and the Silver City Interagency Dispatch Center will be ready to respond quickly to new fires on the forest.
For additional information, contact Gabe Holguin, Fire Staff Officer, 575-388-8233 or Sarah Doehring, Forest Aviation Officer at 575-388-8451.