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engines, 215 rescue squads, 63 paramedic units, 38 ladder trucks, 58 bulldozers, and six mobile kitchen units. An additional 82 engines and 12 bulldozers are funded through contracts with individual counties.


The first leg in battling wildland fires is initial aerial attack. In addition to ground-based resources, CAL FIRE maintains the world’s largest firefighting air force; a network of 13 air attack bases and 10 helitack (fire- attacking helicopter) bases with 23 S-2 air tankers, 15 OV-10 air tactical planes, and 12 helicopters.


HELITACKS From strategically located bases, CAL FIRE can put an OV-10, two S-2 air tankers, and a helitack over a fire within 20 minutes. These aircraft can access areas too remote or unsafe for ground forces to immediately enter. The goal is to hit a fire as hard as possible while buying time for additional resources to arrive. Helitacks insert the first firefighters on the ground and drop water and foam while air tankers lay retardant to suppress further advancement. The air attack coordinator, sitting in the rear seat of the OV-10, coordinates all air traffic. This coordinator may also act as the incident commander until one can be established on the ground. Once additional resources have arrived and have control of the fire, initial attack aircraft can be released to respond to other new fires. It is not uncommon for air attack crews to respond


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public safety aviation. ALEA EXPO is the only event where you can get information to help your mission, find state-of-the-art equipment and services, and go home armed with more knowledge!


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