Saturday, March 2, 2024

DNR Initial Attack gears up for fire season

Commissioner Franz to emphasize aviation resources as we prioritize quicker initial attack response



OLYMPIA – Join Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz, and Department of Natural Resources Wildfire Aviation Aerial Firefighting staff at DNR’s Tumwater hangar to learn how agency aviation resources are being prepared for the 2018 wildfire fire season.


• This year’s fleet consists of nine helicopters and six amphibious single engine air tankers (Fireboss) and 2 Air Attacks that are under contract with DNR

• More than 60 personnel make up the DNR aviation firefighting staff available for Initial Attack to emerging wildland fires.

• DNR’s top aviation priority is Initial Attack. Crews work to get aircraft off the ground and on the way to a fire within five-fifteen minutes of dispatch.

• Initial Attack Teams plan in the air using satellite imagery to identify water sources and to plan the safest route between them and the incident. 

• During fire season (May 15-October 15), aircraft, equipment and teams are staged throughout the state at locations, such as: Olympia, Omak, Colville, Deer Park, Dallesport, Kelso, Mount Vernon, Ellensburg, and Wenatchee. 

• Aviation crews and equipment fight fire on DNR-protected lands, or in collaboration with our wildland firefighting partners, in communities across Washington.

• DNR helicopters are aging but well suited and maintained for aerial firefighting. The fleet is made up of 60-year old U.S. Army surplus Bell UH-1H’s that flew during the Vietnam war. Maintenance costs on these nine aircraft is $1,400-$1,600 per flight hour plus fuel.

Interview Opportunities: Commissioner Franz

                                      Aviation command staff

 Visuals:                           Helicopter taking off and landing

                                      Access to a DNR helicopter and water bucket

 When:                             May 1, 1-2 p.m.

 Where:                            Olympia Airport / DNR Hangar

7613 Old Hwy 99 SE, Olympia, 98591

 More:                              Blog: Air attack: One of our best wildfire weapons

                                      Website: DNR Wildfire Aviation Program

 RSVPs to are welcome.



Janet Pearce 

Communications Manager 


360-688-3047 (cell)


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