Cal Fire Air Attack Base in Hollister plays key role in wildfire fighting

04 May 2021

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USA – HOLLISTER, Calif. The CalFire air attack base in Hollister is gearing up to again play a major role in fire fighting here on the central coast.

As of two weeks ago the base was re-opened, fully staffed and already responding to fires on the central coast.

“However, we can only do so much. It really takes the resources on the ground to put the fire out. We are there to hold the fire in check until we can get some ground resources to back up the work that we do,” said CalFire chief Tom Firth.

With a crew of just eight, two air tankers and an eye in the sky air attack, the air base is small but plays a huge roll acting as a refill station for fire retardant. Last year when fires were burning in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, more than a dozen air tankers lined the runway.

“I haven’t seen anything like that in my years of service. We had 15 tankers at Hollister air attack base here, in one day alone we pumped over 90 thousand gallons of retardant out of this base so we were very busy. Hopefully it won’t be this year,” said chief Firth.

As recent as Sunday the CalFire air attack base had responded to a fire in Los Banos and while Action News 8 was waiting to interview the chief twice he was put on standby to get a plane in the air to help with two northern California fires.

Firefighters are hoping we don’t see another record year of fire activity.

“The fire activity last year was pretty extreme in quite a few areas of the state from San Diego/Mexico border all the way to Oregon. Hopefully we won’t see that but we do have resources and assets in place to do our part to help the state of California,” said Firth. ###

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