Minnesota Flyer - Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

Fighting fires from the sky

Fire watch happens despite weather conditions

 

C.M. Swanson

Pilot Lee Casto with Eagle Air carries Ron Goetzinge, Fire Watch Observer for the DNR into the skies despite the wind.

Wind that kept most pilots on the ground didn't hamper a fire watch flight conducted by DNR observer Ron Goetzinger and pilot Lee Casto with Eagle Air.

C.M. Swanson

Ron Goetzinge, observer for the DNR and pilot Lee Casto with Eagle Air.

"That's when they want us most," said Casto in an impromptu interview at the Moose Lake Airport. "When it's warm and windy, that's when fire danger is at its highest, so that's when they want us.

"We're not necessarily flying in comfortable conditions. We're flying when it's a little bumpy but that's what we do."

Goetzinger worked for the DNR Forestry for 32 years.

"Ron has a lot of experience in fire fighting so he knows what equipment to direct in," said Casto. "We circle over the fire to help the fire engines find their way to the fire."

"Fire was part of our mandatory job every year," said Goetzinger who is officially retired though he now contracts with the DNR for fire watch.

 

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