Home Fire News California firefighters rescued after being trapped by wildfire flames

California firefighters rescued after being trapped by wildfire flames

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Vincent Moleski

The Sacramento Bee

Two Marin County firefighters were rescued by helicopter Friday night after becoming trapped by the flames of the Woodward Fire, burning in Point Reyes National Seashore.

In a news release, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said the firefighters were trapped on a ridgeline about 8:15 p.m. and couldn’t escape the advancing wildfire.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has the only helicopter in the area that is capable of a vertical nighttime rescue. The chopper, known as Henry 1, flew overhead and found the firefighters 75 yards off from the 2,259-acre fire.

Strong winds emanating from the fire made an approach difficult, so the helicopter crew landed a mile away to prepare for the rescue operation.

A 100-foot line was attached to the helicopter, and a tactical flight officer attached himself to the line. Then, they headed back to the two firefighters, where they were hooked up with slinglike rescue devices and airlifted out of the fire zone, all three men dangling from the bottom of the line.

“We are thrilled that both firefighters are unharmed and in good spirits,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a prepared statement. “Sometimes, even first responders need a first responder, and nothing gets to these remote locations faster than Henry 1.”

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