Air support crucial in fight against Goose Fire

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On day three of the Goose Fire, air attack was nonstop and there were several helicopters and planes all fighting through the smoke to put out hot spots and protect homes from the flames near Prather. (KFSN)

Firefighters are gaining ground on the Goose Fire Monday with the help of air support. More than 2,000 acres have burned and 3 homes destroyed and 400 structures remain threatened.

On day three of the Goose Fire, air attack was nonstop and there were several helicopters and planes all fighting through the smoke to put out hot spots and protect homes from the flames near Prather. Many air drops came courtesy of Neptune Aviation out of Montana.

Pilot Josh Kryzsko says it was one of ten from Sunday and by Monday afternoon he had made 6 more drops.

"It's a lot of scanning," he said. "It's a lot of focus on your instrumentation and looking for other airplanes and keeping in contact with them."

He was assigned to the air attack base in Fresno along with several other firefighting aircraft. It's where the pilots refuel, reload and stretch their legs, briefly, between missions.

"As many as we can possibly do until we run out of gas or daylight," base manager John Harpain explained.

He says Sunday was much busier, and the planes went through 100,000 gallons of retardant. Closer to the fire, it covered the tree line and houses. Still, it wasn't enough to save all of them -- at least three homes have burned.

Meanwhile, in Auberry, the US Forest Service is running a helibase to make the flights shorter and refueling easier for helicopters.

"Constantly in and out," Benjamin Crittenden with the forest service said. "This is their home away from home."

But for Kryzsko, this was his last day on the Goose Fire. He will rest for one night and in the morning, he will have new orders.
Related Topics:
newsfresno countywildfirecal firePrather
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