19:13 PM

Calif. Wing Conducting Wildfire Damage Assessment Photo Flights for FEMA

Lt. Col. Juan Tinnirello
Public Affairs Officer
Group 2
California Wing

The California Wing is assisting Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief efforts related to the wildfires in Northern California.

Aircrew operations commenced within a few hours of tasking by 1st Air Force. Flights by two Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182s on Friday covered 80 square miles of fire-affected terrain in both the Wind Complex Fire in Butte County and the Sulphur Fire in Lake County. Photographs have been delivered to FEMA.

The wing is operating from a temporary incident command post at Livermore Municipal Airport. Friday's flights were launched from Oakland International and Palo Alto airports, with additional planes expected to fly today.

Maj. Steven DeFord, incident commander, expects 32 flights and another 320 square miles of photographic coverage today, resulting in about 12 gigabytes of photographic data for FEMA to use in disaster evaluation.

CAP is working closely with the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on this mission. Because of active fires in the Santa Rosa region and Napa, flights today will continue to focus on other fires in Northern California to avoid interfering with firefighters.

All private aircraft and drone operators are reminded to remain clear of active firefighting regions.

More than CAP members have participated in the mission so far. Air operations are expected to continue throughout the weekend and into next week.