Fire Management
Pacific Region

Las Vegas Interagency Helitack Crew


2004 Las Vegas Helitack CrewFor the second year in a row, the Las Vegas Interagency Helitack Crew hosted detailers from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. This year’s detailers were Tom Merritt (Little Pend Orielle NWR), Ross Wise (Klamath Basin NWRC), and Kurt Thompson (Mid-Columbia NWRC). All three detailers brought much needed experience as incident commanders (either Type 5 or Type 4) to the crew. In return the detailers received the experience of working day-to-day on an initial attack helitack crew as well as the experience of fighting fires in a fuel type different from their home units. This year, the Las Vegas Interagency Helitack Crew had over 200 hours of flight time, the vast majority of which was for fire suppression operations. The crew took action on over 40 fires, most of which were initial attacks by the crew. They also provided support on one Type 1 incident, one Type 2 incident, and multiple Type 3 incidents, all of which occurred in Southern Nevada . The USFWS hopes to continue the detailer program and may even attempt to establish a permanent position on the crew in 2005.

A helicopter scans the forest below

Tom Merritt, from Little Pend Orielle NWR describes his experience with the Las Vegas Helitack crew.

  • Completed ICT4 task book
  • Nearly completed HECM task book, just need to build helispot
  • Had an opportunity to mix retardant for SEAT planes for 2 operational periods
  • Excellent opportunity to gain helicopter and air operations knowledge taught by individuals with years of experience
  • Experienced day to day helicopter crew operations
  • Excellent facilities at Las Vegas interagency helitack base, as well as red rocks bunkhouse
  • Opportunity to work with a reputable interagency helitack crew that works excellent together

"This detail was an excellent opportunity for me to gain experience with helicopter and air operations, that otherwise would be nearly impossible for me to attain at my current duty station. I would recommend this opportunity to anyone who is looking to get experience in the fire aviation world. Las Vegas Helitack is and excellent crew with competent and experienced leadership. I look forward to working with them in the future. This is a win-win opportunity. Thanks to all who's efforts make it successful!"



Last updated: September 9, 2008
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