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Frenchtown – Missoula Rural – Florence Firefighters Get Helicopter Water Drop Training

Mel Hltz
Frenchtown Fire

Monday was a fine day for fire training, so the Frenchtown, Florence and Missoula Rural Fire Districts worked all day with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) for helicopter water drop training.

Frenchtown Fire spokesman Mel Holtz described the drills.

“Today, we’re got the DNRC’s 87 Mike helicopter out for training with the local fire departments,” Holtz said. “We’re here along with Missoula Rural and the Florence Fire Departments are working with the helicopter today, learning some of the safety aspects, and also how to communicate with the pilot. When we do have a wildland fire and need bucket and helicopter support, then we can communicate with them and get them responding to our incident.”

Holtz said the DNRC helicopters were drawing water out of the nearby Clark Fork River.

“Right now, they’re dipping out of the Clark Fork and it’s actually a process that takes a couple of minutes, and that bucket holds over 300 gallons,” he said. “So, when we call that in, it will be pretty effective on a wildland fire call. It’s just an excellent resource to have.”

Holtz said with the hot, dry weather this week, it won’t take long for conditions to dry out and fire danger to increase.

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