The Air Tactical Group Supervisor Program began in the Pacific Northwest in 1994 with a contracted Cessna 210 aircraft stationed in Wenatchee, Washington and staffed with an Air Tactical Group Supervisor (ATGS). In 1995, the ATGS moved to Redmond, Oregon. Since that time the program has grown to five high-wing, twin-engine aircraft located once again in Wenatchee and four Oregon locations: Redmond, LaGrande, Lakeview, and Ontario. An ATGS Program Manager now oversees the program and five ATGS positions.

Air drops on Long Lake Fire, Willamette NF

Besides being demanding and stressful, the ATGS position is critical to aircraft and firefighter safety and so requires a high level of training. ATGSs complete a yearly refresher at the Redmond Air Center. It includes policy and procedures, radio programming exercises, sand table exercises that simulate the fire environment, target description and actual flight time with multiple aircraft participating in a fire training scenario.

The Pacific Northwest ATGS Program is committed to providing high quality training and effective mentoring, enhancing safety for ground personnel and air assets alike. The Program has successfully trained over 15 fully qualified ATGSs over the last four years, helping alleviate a significant shortage that has occurred over the last several fire seasons. The ATGS program now has over 50 fully qualified Air Tactical Group Supervisors. This includes state, federal and retired employees, who fly thousands of hours during the fire season. This is why Air Attacks are commonly called the “eyes in the skies”.

For more contact Scott Dewitz, Air Attack Program Manager, at (541)504-7378 or sdewitz@fs.fed.us.