Scott Valley, Siskiyou, Yreka

A Morning With The Siskiyou Air Force

Did you know that Siskiyou County has an Air Force? Well it does out at Siskiyou airport just outside of Montague. It is a very impressive display of firefighting aircraft that has been deployed to combat the #McKinneyFire

Fueling up, this helicopter's mission is very critical. It is the command center in the sky. It carries a bank radios that receive requests from firefighters on the ground then directs the coordinates to the choppers around the fire.

left: Darryl Biltzan Center: Jen Osborne Right: Sean Burkett

Sean Burkett's role this day was flight deck coordinator. Sean works for Ramona H.T. and they are based in Ramona, CA. He was so patient as we got a full tour of the airport interviewing and meeting with crew around the airport.

Jen Osborne of

Jen is a Photojournalist that arrived from Canada to photograph the fire. She reached out to me inquiring about places to go as she was aware of my travels around the fire. With the fire being under control, I though what a great opportunity to show off our Air Force.

Darryl Biltzan is the crew chief for Sillar of Yuba City, California

It takes a team of personnel to keep everything in working order.

Ready to respond at a moments notice.

Darryl's bird was once part of President Nixon's fleet, now being used to fighting fire.

below: Helicopter 37s in Scott Valley drafting retardant from the mobile retardant base set up at the Kraus Ranch on McAdams Creek. Photo's captured by Mel Fechter

Lets not forget the man!

As we were taking pictures a load of fuel arrived and Bubba said no one ever wants to take his picture.

So this one is for you!

Thank you for all that you do, Siskiyou appreciates you!

Jacob ZumBrunnen one of the pilots with HeliMax Aviation Inc.

** Jen asked Jacob, Is flying over a fire is scary." His reply, "Not near as scary as seeing a rocket go across your windshield." Amen and thank you for your service!

There are a lot of veterans working in the firefighting aviation industry. Where else do you build the skills and courage to battle a wildfire?

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