Firefighters want Marines to strike wildfire agreement

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.The need for an agreement with the Marines “is very evident. When we have emergencies like this and you want to put those assets to work, you want to make sure they can easily blend into the operation,” Padilla said. Under current rules, he said, Marine helicopters are not available during the early stages of fires, when quick action can mean the difference between limited damage and potential tragedy. State firefighters want the Marines to strike a formal agreement to battle wildfires in California, after confusion over the availability of military aircraft and flight rules left some helicopters grounded in the early days of last week’s deadly blazes. The California National Guard and Navy train each year with state firefighters, and the drills pay off when aircraft are called in to fight fires, officials say. But the Marines have no comparable agreement, even though the state for years has recognized the need to make improvements in the way its military aircraft are deployed in wildfires. The Marines’ Camp Pendleton base was close to the worst of the recent fires. “It would take time and effort, but it’s a commitment the Marine Corps should make,” said Mike Padilla, aviation chief for the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. last_img read more