Fresno Air Attack Lends A Hand In Rim Fire - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Fresno Air Attack Lends A Hand In Rim Fire

FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) -

Five thousand people are working round the clock in hopes of taming the rim fire in Yosemite.   Fresno is a long way from the fire line but dispatchers, hot shots and the people involved in the air attack are doing their part to make a difference.

Ken Thompson is dispatch captain who spends the better part of his day staring at screens that monitor activity in the Sierra National Forest.  Two weeks ago his responsibilities changed with the Rim Fire as it too is now part of his duty to keep an eye on.  

Planes, air tankers and helicopters have been flying out of Fresno to attack the fifth largest wildfire in California history.  Air tankers and heli–tankers always get an escort.   John Harpain is base manager in Fresno.  "The air attack plane flies above the fire and directs the lead plane, which shows the air tankers where to put the drop on the fire to support the ground crew."

Brian Grossman is the squad leader for the Sierra hot shots.  It's a highly trained, highly motivated 20 person hand crew that will spend up to 21 days on the fire line.  "Every time we go to a fire we know it's going to be challenging but in the end it's rewarding."

Grossman and his team are heading to the Rim Fire on Tuesday.  So farm 220-thousand acres have been devoured by flames.  It is currently 35-percent contained with full containment not expected to happen for another three weeks.


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