Navy – Marine Corps Team Providing Support Fighting California Wildfires

first published on December 10, 2017 by

Members of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps aviation units are assisting in fighting the on-going California wildfires. UH-1Y Venom medium-sized utility helicopters from the Marine Light Helicopter Squadron and MH-60S Seahawks from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3 and 21 have been pitching in to fill buckets of water for airdrop on designated spots of the raging infernos in the Camp Pendleton area of California. They have been working hand-in-hand with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to provide aerial support when and where it is needed.

Wildfires 1

Marines and Sailors from the 3rd Marine Air Wing, as well as Sea Combat Squadron 3 and 21 have been providing aerial support to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as wildfires threaten to consume large parts of the state. The Marine Corps is providing two UH-1y Venom medium utility helicopters capable of carrying 320-gallons of water in sling loaded buckets, and two CH-53E Super Stallions capable of carrying 900-gallons of water to fight the wildfires that are threatening San Diego.

There has not been a direct release from the U.S. Navy about the aircraft that they have provided, but from images that have been released, it appears that there are 4 MH-60s Seahawks from Sea Combat Squadron 3, and Sea Combat Squadron 21 also providing support to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in the same area. According to the Marine Corps press release though, the level of aerial firefighting support depends on forecasted high-wind weather conditions throughout the weekend.

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The location of the fire that the Marines and Sailors are fighting is west of Interstate 15 Highway 76, in the northern County of San Diego. Containment is currently listed at 60% according to CAL FIRE, and the cause is currently still under investigation. There are 1,500 structures currently threatened by the fire, with 182 that have been destroyed completely, and another 23 damaged. They will remain in a red flag warning until 8pm on Sunday, December 10, 2017.

Conditions on the ground have been reported as favorable for the firefighters, and they have continued to improve and increase their containment lines with the support of the Navy-Marine Corps team.

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If you are in any of the impacted areas, CAL FIRE has set up an evacuation center at Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission Rd., San Marcos. They have also set up a large animal evacuation center at the Del Mar Fairgrounds @ 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar. If you are in any of the following areas, you are in a mandatory evacuation area. West Lilac Rd. & Sullivan Middle School. South of Burma Rd. East of Wilshire North of N. River Rd. West of S. Mission Ave South of Reche Rd., West of I-15 Freeway, East of Green Canyon Rd. & S. Mission Rd., North of Hwy 76. Highway 76 from Interstate 15 and East Vista Way is currently closed.

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