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Columbia Air Base Prepared For 2008 Fire Season

Columbia, CA — With the official start of the 2008 fire season right around the corner, CAL Fire´s Columbia Air Base Unit, with one exception, is at full strength.

According to Battalion Chief Frank Podesta Tanker 8-3 is missing. Podesta adds that the tanker has some maintenace issues. If it is not ready for delivery near the end of May or the first of June Tanker 100 will join the fleet.

Already on base are Air Attack, Helicopter 404 and Tanker 8-2. The Helicopter 404 crew consists of two pilots, four captains, two engineers and 14 firefighters. The fixed wing aircraft unit (Air Attack and two tankers) consists of a battalion chief, three contract pilots, two captains, one engineer and eight firefighters.

Air Attack helped in spotting the three lightning caused fires (one in Arnold and two in the West Point area) Sunday evening. Air Attack returned to the scene of the fires to check on possible “sleepers” late this morning (hot spots that develop into fires), but none were discovered

Written by Bill Johnson