Bambi-Bucket Brigade

HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters from the California Air National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Federal Airfield last week began dropping water on wildfires outside Bakersfield in southern California. “This is a great example of the use of airpower in the homeland to save lives and property,” said Col. Steven Butow, 129th RQW commander, in an Aug. 15 unit release. Two of the unit’s Pave Hawks, staging from Tehachapi Municipal Airport, initially flew against the Jawbone complex fire in Kern County, states the release. Armed with “bambi buckets” capable of holding some 500 gallons of water, and painted with temporary pink high-visibility markings, the helos delivered 58,000 gallons of water in 120 drops between Aug. 12 and Aug. 14, their first three days of operations, according to the release. Six Air Force C-130s equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System are also battling blazes from bases in California and Idaho. (Moffett report by Maj. Alyson Teeter)