PORT HUENEME (CBSLA.com) — Pilots and flight crews with the California Air National Guard and the U.S. Forest Service conducted aerial training exercises Wednesday in Ventura County in preparation for what officials fear could be a dangerous wildfire season.
More than 100 personnel were expected to take part in the week-long training at Channel Islands Air National Guard Station in Port Hueneme, which will feature water drops from low-flying C-130 air tankers in the nearby Angeles National Forest and Kern County.
The Guard’s C-130 aircraft are equipped with an advanced firefighting system that ensures the most efficient use of water possible by releasing the water or retardant — up to about 3,000 gallons — in a highly concentrated and targeted stream, officials said.
Airlift Squadron commander Lt. Colonel Bill Wilson told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the training includes plenty of challenges, but no actual flames.
“First it’s ground training; we learn all the nomenclature of what a fire is, how a fire acts,” Wilson said. “There’s a mountain flying course, where we teach some of the more unique aspects of flying within high terrain with a large, heavy airplane.”
Rural residents in the Port Hueneme area have been warned they may see aircraft and Forest Service planes throughout the exercise, which will be held through April 12.