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Indian Valley Record
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August 15, 2012     Indian Valley Record
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August 15, 2012
 

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4A Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 Indian Valley Record Unusual birds in Plumas skies to fight fire The pre-flight check by mechanic Desmond Turcotte and pilot Bruno Levi takes place just minutes before the helicopter took off Aug. 7 from Gansner Airfield with its 700-gallon variable bucket to fight the Chips Fire. Photos by Laura Beaton K-MAX pilot Bruno Levi lifts off for his flight to fight the Chips Fire. Boise-based Levi will be directed by air and ground control where to fill his 700-gallon bucket and the target location for his drop. Laura Beaton Staff Writer Ibeaton@plumasnews.com Fighting fires is hot, hard, dirty work. But somebody has to do it. Helicopters and airplanes are valuable re- sources that often define the turning point in putting out fires. The American-made Ka- man Helicopters K-MAX, one of only 22 still operating in the world, can lift more than its weight, which is 5,200 pounds. With a counter-rotating rotor and intermeshing blade system sporting Sitka spruce wooden spar blades, the K-MAX's design allows for repetitive external lifting in high altitude and temper- ature situations. These "aerial trucks" are used to lift anything from timber to power lines to con- struction materials to water buckets. Bruno Levi, pilot of the single seat K-MAX stationed at Gansner Airfield in Quin- cy as part of the Tahoe For- est Crew, came all the way from Denver to fight the Chips Fire outside of Belden. The K-MAX has the capa- bility of toting a 700-gallon water bucket on a 200-foot line. The variable bucket used by Levi allows control of the water release, unlike many buckets that drop their load all at once. The long line and the great maneuverability of the K- MAX allow access to steep, narrow terrain that other helicopters can't navigate. The design of the K-MAX offers unparalleled visibili- ty, allowing the pilot a good view of the helicopter's load. Levi's K-MAX crew con- sists of helicopter mechanic Desmond Turcotte and fuel transfer technician Bonnie Folwell, also from Denver, and manager Justin Buck- bee of Tahoe National For- est. For six years Levi has been fighting fires for Den- ver-based HeliQuest. Recent missions include firefight- ing in Mendocino, Elko, Na- pa and Jackson Hole. At work on the Chips Fire, Levi fills his bucket from the Serving Greenville & Indian Valley Postal Service: USPS (No. 775-460.) Periodicals postage paid at Greenville, CA. Published: Every Wednesday morning by Feather Publishing, Co., Inc. Mailing address: P.O. Box 469, Greenville, CA 95947. How to contact us: (530) 284-7800. Email mail@plumasnews.com; Web Page http://www.plumasnews.com Ownership and Heritage: Established Nov. 20, 1930. Published weekly. It is part of the Feather Publishing family of newspapers serving Plumas and Lessen counties. Deadlines: Display Advertising: Thursday 3 p.m. Legals: Noon, Thursday. Display Classified: Thursday, 3 p.m. Classified: Monday 9 a.m. News: Friday, 1 p.m. Breaking news: Anytimel TO Subscribe: Call (530) 284-7800 or use the handy coupon below, or send e-mail to subscdptions@plumasnews.com Adjudication: The Indian Valley Record is adjudicated a legal newspaper by Supedor Court Decree No. 5462 and qualified for publication of mat- ters required by law to be published in a newspaper. PoMntaater: Send change of address orders to the Indian Valley Record, P.O. Box 469, Greenville, CA 95947. Michael C. Taborski Co-Owner/Publisher Keri Taborski Sherri McConnell Co-Owner/Legal Advertising Display Advertising Manager Kevin Mallory Cobey Brown Vice PresJAdmin. Vice Pres./Operations Delaine Fragnoli Tom Forney Managing Editor Production Manager Alicla Knadler Elise Monroe Resident Editor Bookkeeper Sandy Condon Eva Small Human Resources Director Composing Manager Mary Newhouse Jenny Lee Classified/Circ. Manager Photo Editor " - - 00Trm-- - - 'l II Indian Valley Record II P.O, Box 469, Greenville, CA 95947 II I Please enter my subscription for  years. I I [ Enclosed fir, d my check for $ I I  In County $26 per year  Out of State $44 per year I I '" c,,,or.,.., per ,..,. I I "- - 1 kklr I City, State, zip I Subscriptions can be transferred, but not refunded. m m, mm m ,mm m m m, mm  m m J Feather River near Gansner Bar, or other approved wa- ter sources such as Caribou Reservoir, Chips Lake and Lotts Lake. Pilots fill their buckets at the closest available water source nearest the fire to Op- timize their air attack strength. The air attack is being conducted from both Chester and Quincy, and is orches- trated by helicopter coordi- nators. Pilots pinpoint their drop locations using GPS and in- structions from ground crews. Markers are placed to help pilots locate assigned targets, while natural land- forms also help describe tar- geted locations. According to Fire Informa- tion Chief Richard Birger, from St. Paul, Minn., there are three classes of heli- copters: Type 1, heavy lift; Type 2, medium lift, such as the K-MAX and Bell 205; and Type 3, light lift, used pri- marily for reconnaissance and helicopter coordination operations. The K-MAX and Bell 205 helicopters are fighting the Chips Fire. They may also be used to transport supplies and personnel. The US military has suc- cessfully flown an un- manned K-MAX helicopter for battlefield cargo resup- ply in Afghanistan on Dec. 17, 2011. A Bell 205 with a hoist is often used for rescue opera- tions or medical evacuation flights. Bell 205 UH-1 helicopters, commonly known as "Hueys," were widely em- ployed by the military in Vietnam. The Huey is con- sidered to be the most wide- ly used helicopter in the world, with more than 9,000 ships manufactured since 1950 and flown by about 40 countries. Darin Bell is the pilot of a Firehawk stationed at Gansner Airfield. He and his crew came from Boise with- in days of the Chips Fire breaking out. Firehawk Helicopters Inc. is the first commercial com- pany to convert the military Black Hawk to a firefighting Sales Tax E-File Individual * Business * Non-Profit Bookkeeping Payroll Notary Taxes Mary Cheek, EA, CPA Certified Public Accountant Licensed to practice by the IRS 258-1040 ,,130 Willow St., Chester (Next to Chevron) MaryCheekCPA@FrontierNet.Net ......... /[. :!ii i %:: Over 20 years experien Plumas00 DISTRICT HOSPITAL Janice Bonnett, Nledical Receptionist Nomination 1: Janice has been our "interior designer" here at North Fork redoin8 our boards and the MDs baby boards. She also did our Xmas door decorating. She is witting to jump in at any time and help out with whatever is needed. She has a pleasant personitity and is very 8racious with the patients, Nomination 2: Janice is very professional and always patient with the patients. She 8oes out of her way to help at all times, even with fitin8 which not everyone will do. She is very deservins. Nomination 3: Janice helps in every way possible always professional with the patients and makes sure her job is done. Congratulations Janice Bonnettt Plumas District Hospital Employee of the Month of July 2012 Firehawk. Firehawk Heli- copters now owns and oper- ates four of these Sikorsky S70s, the only ones in the U.S. Three of the $70 series he- licopters were acquired from the Government Flying Ser- vice of Hong Kong sometime after ruling power shifted from the British to the Chi- nese in 1997. In 2005-06, Firehawk Heli- copters helped rescue and evacuate stranded people af- ter Hurricane Katrina. Then the company worked for a year providing aerial fire support in the New Orleans area. The Sikorsky-built Fire- hawk can carry 7,000 pounds and fly for two hours and 10 minutes on a tank of fuel at Plumas County altitudes. Another Firehawk is sta- tioned in Chester. Although Leonardo da Vinci drew plans for an "or- nithopter" flying machine in the mid-1500s, Ivor Sikorsky is considered to be the father of helicopters for building the first successful heli- copter in 1910. His VS-300, built in 1940, paved the way for develop- ing modern helicopters. Sikorsky also designed and built the first military helicopter, the XR-4, in the 1940s. Advances in technology have come a long way, but Sikorsky remains an impor- tant name in helicopters to- day. The Sikorsky-built Fire- hawk is an important aerial component of the battle to control and extinguish the Chips Fire in Plumas Coun- ty. Efforts to put out the Chips Fire continue. A large incident base center is locat- ed on North Mill Creek Road in Quincy, housing hun- dreds of firefighters and sup- port crews, while air crews are staged out of,e Quincy - and Chester airports. The fire has burned close to 40,000 acres and its cause is still undetermined. BUDGET, from page 1A they wanted language in- cluded in their contracts that included a pay compar- ison with other counties. The comparison would like- ly show that Plumas County elected department heads are already underpaid. "We are not opposed to taking the 3 percent cut," Williams said. "We just need to have the language clarified from county coun- sel." The supervisors agreed that local elected officials were paid less than those in other counties Plumas' size. But they blasted the elected department heads for not doing their part. Supervisor Terry Swof- ford called it "a stall tactic." Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said the pay comparison "didn't matter. If somebody did a comparison and they said you are underpaid $50,000, we can't remedy that," she said. Regardless, the supervi- sors said the pay-compari- son language would be added to the contract. It was expected to be finalized by Aug. 14. Unless the county elimi- nates non-essential services like the library, museum, parks, county fair and se- nior services, filling most of the $1.8 million gap will have to come from the coun- ty's workers. "The biggest part, if you look at the budget, that's what it comes down to: wages and salaries and ben- efits," Supervisor Lori Simpson said. Simpson, who was on the other side of the table when she was county union repre- sentative, said she under- stands the sacrifice the coun- ty is asking of its employees. "If you are working with unions ... I've been on that side. I know all the ar- guments," Simpson said. "In labor negotiations you can't just say 'do it.' You have to negotiate in good faith." "We can do it in good faith. We can just do it quicker," Kennedy respond- ed. Kennedy said he was look- ing forward to the budget workshops. They were set for Aug. 14, 17, 21, 24, 27, 28 and 29. "I want to take another swing at it," he said. In the absence of a CAO, Kennedy said he has taken it upon himself to study the county budget line-by-line. "Every single day I dig through, I try to think of things," Kennedy said. "And I want to come here (before the board) and say: 'Guys, I figured it out.' ... But there's nothing to figure out. There's no answer to fix this $1.8 million problem." Master fee schedule As part of the budget process, the supervisors di- rected department heads to amend the county's master fee schedule. The schedule sets the fees the county charges for various ser- vices. A public hearing on the amended fee schedule was scheduled to take place dur- ing the supervisors' Sept. 4 meeting. Moment of silence Prior to the meeting, Chairman Meacher asked for a moment of silence in memory of Lee Roy Thrall. Thrall, the husband of Su- pervisor Sherrie Thrall, passed away unexpectedly Saturday afternoon, Aug. 4, in Susanville.