Pilot Gets Bird's-Eye View of Northern Nevada Wildfires - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

RAVEN Pilot Gets Bird's-Eye View of Northern Nevada Wildfires

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Our firefighters are on the front line battling wildfires to keep all of us safe and they are certainly heroes.

However, there's one man who is oftentimes the very first on scene. He gets a different perspective than just about anybody in our area.

Doug Russell is the pilot for RAVEN, which stands for Regional Aviation Enforcement Unit. He says he loves his job, but it can get dangerous in a hurry.

"That guy on the ground in a firefight is actually telling me where he wants me to place that water. I'll do my best to get it exactly where he wants it," said Russell. "I am dropping 2,600 pounds of water in an area that is very close to where they're working."

Russell said RAVEN can never really completely put out a fire, but it can certainly slow it down, at least, until ground crews get there.

Part of his job is to get there as soon as a fire is reported and give the guys on the ground a report of where the fire is and which direction the flames are moving.

"When you come up on a fire, you are looking at several things, like the winds, how it's flowing, what the fuels are that the fire is in and how fast is it moving."

"In my helicopter, we are dropping between 60 to 90 feet. I'm between 60 to 90 feet over the fire area. It all depends if they want me to drop directly on the flames or if they want me to layer it and put some water out to slow it down as it moves through fuels."

To watch the entire interview, watch my weekend show Face the State. The show airs Saturday at 4:30am and 3:30pm. It also airs Sunday at 6:30am and 3:30pm.

Written by Chris Ciarlo

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