The Sonoma Sheriff shared dramatic helmet cam footage showing the nighttime helicopter rescue on August 21 of two Marin County firefighters who had been stranded by the Woodward Fire in an area of the Point Reyes National Seashore in California.
The two had been trapped by the fire on a ridgeline and were unable to make it out of the path of the advancing fire, according to the Sonoma Sheriff.
In an update the next day, a representative of Marin County Fire said both firefighters were doing well physically but were “shook up” by the incident.
The sheriff’s office said the rescue had been complicated by strong winds caused by the fire.
The sheriff’s office update read as follows:
“At approximately 8:15 PM, the Marin County Fire Department (MCFD) requested the Sonoma Sheriff’s Helicopter “Henry-1” respond to the area of the Woodward Fire, which is burning in an area of the Point Reyes National Seashore, southwest of Olema. MCFD requested an immediate rescue of two firefighters who had become trapped by fire on a ridgeline and unable to make it out of the path of the advancing fire.
“Henry 1 is the only helicopter in the region capable of conducting a vertical reference long line rescue at night. When our Fire counterparts call for help, Henry 1 comes flying.
“Once on scene, Henry 1 located the two Firefighters, who were trapped approximately 75 yards from the advancing fire.
To complicate the situation further, the fire was creating strong, gusting winds that intensified as Henry 1 flew closer to the head of the fire.
“Henry 1 landed approximately a mile from the Firefighter’s location and the Tactical Flight Officer (TFO) configured the helicopter for long line rescue with a 100 foot long line. The TFO subsequently attached himself to the long line and was flown to the location of the firefighters.
“Upon arriving at the Firefighter’s location, the TFO placed a Bauman Bag rescue device on one of the firefighters and a Horse Collar rescue device on the other. Having a variety of different pieces of equipment on board at all times enables Henry 1 to quickly adapt to dynamic and dangerous situations. In this instance, Henry 1 was able to lift three people, the TFO and both Firefighters, simultaneously to safety. This enabled the rescue to occur in one attempt, as time was clearly of the essence, and limit the amount of time any of them were in the dangerous situation.” Credit: Sonoma Sheriff via Storyful