Monday, April 10, 2017

Alabama's wildfire aviation unit

I've flown enough as a knowledgeable passenger in the right side of general aviation aircraft to know that you have a birds eye view to see certain activities on the ground, including wildfires. I suspect that making good observations from an aircraft takes experience. I have always had a general knowledge that there are agencies in the U.S. and internationally that make wildfire observations from the air, but had no specific information. Or perhaps I just wasn't paying attention. But I was paying attention last week when a short video from a local news report from WKRG in Alabama.

In the video, uploaded on March 29th, you will meet the Alabama Forestry Commission's Aviation Unit. At the time of this news report there were 37 wildfires to date that had burned more than 1,300 acres in Mobile and Baldwin Counties in Southwest Alabama this spring. Over the last three months (January to March 2017) there have been some 330 burned that have burned more than 6,500 acres

The Aviation Unit has been working making observations in support of wildland firefighters on the ground. In this short video you will meet Robert Trimble who flies one of four Alabama Forestry Commission's Cessna's. In his case a Cessna 182. He is an "eye in the sky" first locating wildfires and then flying over the fire and dispatching ground crews to the wildfire. He also works to keep the ground crews safe, advising them to move to safer ground if necessary.

You will fly with the reporter Pat Peterson as he joins Trimble one day as he flies over Baldwin County in Alabama. Trimble covers 10 counties in Southwest Alabama.

Direct link to video

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