The Cal Fire Aviation Management Program, a branch of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, is dedicated to the fire protection and stewardship of over 31 million acres of California’s privately-owned wildlands, providing emergency services in 36 of the State’s 58 counties via contracts with local governments.
Their program includes wildland pre-fire engineering, vegetation management, fire planning, education and law enforcement. Typical fire prevention projects include brush clearance, prescribed fire, defensible space inspections, emergency evacuation planning, fire prevention education, fire hazard severity mapping, and fire-related law enforcement activities.
Ray Taglio, MEU (Mendocino Unit) Battalion Aviation Chief, oversees the Howard Forest Station—emergency command center in Mendocino County—located at the top of the grade in Willits and the Cal Fire Air Attack Base at the Ukiah Municipal Airport.
Howard Forest Station houses one UH-1H Super Huey helicopter and the Ukiah Municipal Airport serves as home base for two Grumman S-2T air tankers and one OV-10 air tactical aircraft.