Fort McCoy News April 22, 2016

Agencies partner for fire-suppression training

Fort McCoy's fire and forestry officials, members of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and aircrew and Blackhawk helicopters with the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment of Madison, Wis., teamed April 12 to complete prescribed-burn and conduct fire-suppression training on Range 29 on the installations North Post.

A Blackhawk helicopter belonging to the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment of Madison, Wis., carries water in a giant bucket to a douse a fire April 12 at Range 29 as part of fire-suppression training.
A Blackhawk helicopter belonging to the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation
Regiment of Madison, Wis., carries water in a giant bucket to a douse a
fire April 12 at Range 29 as part of fire-suppression training.
Photo by Scott
T. Sturkol


A firefighter with the Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department sets fire to dead vegetation on Range 29.
A firefighter with the Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department
sets fire to dead vegetation on Range 29.
Photo by Scott T. Sturkol


A Blackhawk helicopter fills a 660-gallon water bucket at Lost Lake on Fort McCoy's North Post.
A Blackhawk helicopter fills a 660-gallon water bucket at Lost Lake on
Fort McCoy's North Post.
Photo by Scott T. Sturkol

The event marked the first time the helicopter crews used Lost Lake on North Post as a dipping site for the water buckets attached to the Blackhawks and was the fifth-consecutive year the training was held on post, according to Forestry Technician Charles Mentzel with the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch (NRB).

Forester James Kerkman, also with the NRB, said Fort McCoy is the ideal place to hold fire-suppression training.

"We are a military training base, have the facilities to support the helicopters, and the land base to do the training," Kerkman said. "The water source also is on the installation, so helicopters didn't have to cross any public roadways while carrying water to the fire."

Prescribed burns typically are completed every spring and fall through a combined effort of several post organizations, including DPW; the Directorate of Emergency Services; and the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.This effort was supported by those same agencies, and the WDNR also provided two air-attack airplanes to provide reconnaissance and ground-communications capability.

As of mid-April, more than 1,000 acres have been burned as part of the post's prescribed-burn program, Mentzel said.

For more information on the prescribed burn program, call Kerkman at the installation Forestry office at 608-388-2102. For more about the WDNR programs to respond to and prevent wildfires, visit its website at dnr.wi.gov.

   (Article prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office.)