Predator Supports Firefighters in California

The California Air National Guard’s 163rd Reconnaissance Wing at March Air Reserve Base last week deployed an MQ-1 remotely piloted aircraft in support of firefighters battling the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in the central part of the state. The Predator, operating from Victorville, north of San Bernardino, first flew in support of the firefighting efforts on Aug. 28, according to a Pentagon release. Flying overhead, the Predator’s cameras are providing real-time imagery on the wildfires. “It will identify where fire activity is located and how it is moving, as well as where it has been controlled,” said California Air Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Keegan. The Predator will also help firefighters identify safe routes of retreat and locate new fires created by lightning strikes or floating embers, he said. (AFPS report by Donna Miles)