The Air Operations Section of the Los Angeles Fire Department was awarded the Chief’s Distinguished Service Award for its efforts in battling three big wildfires in the fall of 2017, it was announced Wednesday.
The five helicopters and team of pilots that make up the section flew dozens of water-dropping missions during the La Tuna, Creek and Skirball fires, protecting lives and property throughout the city, according to spokesman Erik Scott.
Aerial firefighting is a critical aspect in containing wildfires before they can spread and the members of Air Operations Section were praised for their ability to expertly handle challenging and continuously shifting weather and firefighting conditions, Scott said.
Air Operations is able to carry out precision drops after the sun goes down, thanks to the LAFD Foundation’s support in providing critically needed equipment, including night-vision goggles, Scott said.
The division is staffed around the clock at Fire Station 114 on the grounds of Van Nuys Airport and its primary missions include brush fire suppression, search and rescue, hoist operations and air ambulance.
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