LUFKIN — A lone Blackhawk helicopter sits out near a hangar toward the rear of the Angelina County Airport.
The U.S. Forest Service has a contract with 5 State Helicopters to use the Blackhawk to battle wildfires in Deep East Texas this summer.
The four-person crew who man the aircraft spend their free time reading, catching up on TV or studying while waiting on their next assignment. The crew has figured out they should get ready about 5 p.m. for any late-afternoon fires.
“We had a lightning bust two weeks ago; we had a lot of fires in the national forest around the area,” said Tim Beck, the helicopter program manager for the National Forest in Texas. “So this is here for the national forest, but we’re also here for the state. We’ve flown on four state fires in the last three days; dumped about 20,000 gallons of fire.”
Read more on this story at the Lufkin News Journal