Header: US Forest Service, Fire and Aviation Management.  Helitack Crews:  A spotter makes final checks and steadies the rope, before a veteran wildland firefighter rappeller pushes away from Heligroup Fire's Bell 205A-1 helicopter hovering over a rappeller landing zone in the Perreau Creek area at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) U.S. Forest Service (USFS) National Helicopter Rappel Programís Rappel Academy at Salmon Air Base in Salmon, ID on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Photo Credit:  Lance Cheung Fire and Aviation Management USDA Forest Service's logo and link to the agency's national site. Contact Us Employment About Us News & Information Fire & Aviation Home Helitack Crews Trained & Ready

 

Veteran wildland firefighter rappellers use various techniques to negotiate the wind from the helicopter rotor blades above them, and away from tree branches, beside and below, as they perform a controlled and safe descent at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) U.S. Forest Service (USFS) National Helicopter Rappel Program’s Rappel Academy at Salmon Air Base in Salmon, ID on Thursday, May 15, 2014.  Photo Credit:  Lance CheungHelitack crews are teams of firefighters who are transported by helicopter to wildfires. Helicopters provide rapid transport, enabling helitack crews to quickly respond and assess a wildfire situation. Helitack crews may land near a wildfire or, if equipped and trained, rappel from a hovering helicopter. Once on the ground, crews build firelines using hand tools, chainsaws, and other firefighting tools. They often remain overnight in remote locations. After they have completed their assignment, crew members may pack up to 120 pounds of equipment over difficult terrain to reach a pick-up point. Rappellers often prepare helispots (helicopter landing zones) that provide better access to a fire. Helicopter crew members may also perform other duties such as tree falling, firing operations, delivering people and equipment, and managing helibases.

Firefighter rappellers come from all over the naton to train at the National Helicopter Rappel Program’s Rappel Academy at Salmon AirBase, in Salmon, Idaho.

The 2014 training photos are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/sets/72157644920079695/#