Friday, April 25, 2014

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STAR Flight, county crews sharpen fire fighting skills from above

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TWC News: STAR Flight, county crews sharpen fire fighting skills from above
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Local helicopter rescue company STAR Flight and the Austin Fire Department joined forces for a training exercise Thursday.

The emergency professionals learned how to work together to help combat wildfires.

Using a 130-gallon “Bambi” bucket, STAR Flight’s EC-145 helicopter is able to make valuable water drops on active wildfires.

Air and land crews spent Thursday getting necessary practice, just as this year’s wildfire season sets in.

In the air was Willie Culbertson, a STAR Flight veteran. Culbertson remembers vividly Labor Day weekend of last year, when dozens of wildfires consumed much of Central Texas.

"We were going out every day and into the night, going out to the different areas to check the hot spots and trouble spots, directing ground resources into those locations," Culbertson said.

County crews are eagerly awaiting a new UH-1H helicopter, a military-style "Huey" helicopter with the strength to carry 350 gallons of water per load.

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