VDOF News Media Day Aerial and On-Ground Demonstrations Showcase Wildland Firefighting Capabilities and Tactics
Who: Reporters, photographers, videographers, assignment & news editors, meteorologists
What: VDOF News Media Day will include demonstrations of helicopter water drops; a single-engine aerial tanker water drop; a dozer plowing a fire line; brush truck and fire pickup capabilities; fireline construction, and so on.
Where: VDOF Office in
Chesterfield County near Pocahontas State Park
Beach Road, Chesterfield, Virginia 23838 Phone: 804.796.4360
When: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 10 a.m. Please be onsite by 9:55 a.m. and plan to stay until noon.
Why: It’s your opportunity to see first hand how the VDOF protects life and property. It’s an opportunity to learn how we can help you cover a wildland fire. It’s an opportunity to add visuals to your photo/video archive. And it’s an opportunity to get your questions answered.
How: No need to RSVP though we’d like to know that you’re coming. Do wear work boots or at least a pair of sneakers – you really won’t be happy if you show up in heels or flats!
April 6, 2011
Virginia Department of Forestry has been protecting and serving Virginians since 1914. Our mission is to protect and develop forest resources for the benefit of all citizens of the Commonwealth.
There are just 246 employees in the Agency – that’s 39 less than just two years ago. (We also have a mechanism in place to supplement our response personnel with a cadre of trained personnel who can be activated when conditions demand. These resources are paid only when actually fighting fire.) VDOF employees are responsible for protecting lives and property on more than 15.7 million acres of forestland (62 percent of the state’s landbase), and we are an all-hazard response agency of the Commonwealth.
Each year, we grow, sell and ensure the proper planting of 25 million tree seedlings; research and write forest stewardship plans on behalf of the 373,000 forest landowners in Virginia; conduct nearly 5,000 timber harvest inspections to ensure water quality; enforce water quality and wildland fire laws, and suppress and investigate more than 1,200 wildland fires that burn an average of 12,000 acres annually.
Our fleet of fire suppression equipment includes 200 water-equipped pickup trucks; 85 tractor/plows; seven modified Hummers, and five brush trucks. We also own one 1960s-era twin engine plane that we can use for aerial reconnaissance and wildfire detection.
During certain times of the year, we will put as many as two helicopters (one in the East and one in the West) on a standby contract. These resources might be called in under the following conditions: 1. potential for loss of life of citizens or firefighters; 2. significant risk to homes and other structures; 3. access issues, such as difficult terrain, and 4. risk to the timber resources, especially in plantation of pines. Depending on the type of helicopter, it can pick up and deliver up to 120 gallons on each drop. If an accessible body of water is nearby, a helicopter can fill its bucket, deliver its water drop and return to refill the bucket within minutes.
As you will see later today, we also have a contract with the owner of a S.E.A.T. (single engine aerial tanker) that’s capable of dropping 200 gallons of water on each pass. Obviously, use of the S.E.A.T. would require much more time between water drops than would a helicopter as it would have to fly back to an airport, land, refill the water tank, takeoff and return to the drop zone.