After three days of fighting the Jawbone Complex Fire, 129th aircrews have performed more than 120 bucket drops for a total of 58,000 gallons of water dropped. Each bucket drop is approximately 500 gallons. “Our HH-60G rescue helicopters are performing precision airdrops of water to help contain wildfires in California,” said Col. Steven J. Butow, 129th Rescue Wing commander. “This is a great example of the use of airpower in the homeland to save lives and property.”
Earlier this year, 129th aircrews performed annual certification for performing bucket drops. The training the aircrews received is in accordance with the California Interagency Military Helicopter Firefighting Program and was provided by certified instructors with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Near San Diego, Navy helicopters teamed with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection units Aug. 15 to conduct aerial firefighting against several wildfires in eastern San Diego County.
At CALFIRE’s request for immediate response support, the Navy is providing three firefighting helicopters equipped with buckets for aerial water drops to support firefighting efforts in San Diego County. Helicopter Sea Combat squadrons 3 and 21 are providing aircrews flying specially equipped MH-60S helicopters to assist CALFIRE in conducting aerial water drops.