Ask Joe: Why did Raven not help with the Hunter Falls fire?

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Updated: 5/20 7:06 pm
Question:
From the Ask Joe file, News 4 is getting more questions about the response to the fire over the weekend in the hills west of Reno.
Edward in Reno wrote in asking why the Raven helicopter was not used as part of the initial attack on the Hunter Falls Fire?

Answer:
Joe checked with Christie Kalkowski and Mike Wilde with the U.S. Forest Service. They said Raven was not available, because it was being used on a search-and-rescue mission.
However, when Joe checked with Bob Harmon, the spokesman for the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, he said no one asked for Raven's help on the fire. Harmon said Raven was in the area, in case it was needed to evacuate hikers, but again, the Sheriff's Office said no one requested it for water drops.
The Forest Service said its first helicopter arrived at 11 a.m. on Sunday, but the first water drop did not happen until after noon, because they wanted to wait until crews on the ground could direct the pilots to the fire.
But there is a real discrepancy here. The Forest Service claims the Sheriff's Office told them at 11:41 a.m. on Sunday that the Raven helicopter was not available. The Sheriff's Office insists it was.
We think it is an important question to get answered, so Joe will follow up when we get the whole story later in the week.

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