Inside DI

DynCorp International and the CAL FIRE Program

dyncorp international cal fireDynCorp International works with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as CAL FIRE, to help suppress and control wild land fires.

“One of our premiere programs is our CAL FIRE program. We provide full fleet management for the California Department of Forestry. We manage the aircraft, we fly them, we help them to put out fires all through California, all during the fire season,” said Catherine Gridley, vice president of Aviation for DynCorp International.

DI has worked with the CAL FIRE program since 2001 and will continue the program through 2014.
“It’s a great program. The men and women who work on this program love what they do and it’s a very important mission. The fires in California are devastating and what we do helps put those fires out and helps prevent them from spreading,” continued Gridley.

Flying and Maintaining Fire-Fighting Aircraft

DynCorp International flies and maintains Grumman S-2T fire retardant air tankers and OV-10A aircraft, and fully maintains and services civilian UH-1H Super Huey helicopters flown by CAL FIRE pilots. Operating from across California, aircraft can reach most fires within 20 minutes. The OV-10A aircraft fly over fires, directing the air tankers and helicopters to critical areas for retardant and water drops. The retardant used to slow or retard the spread of a fire is a slurry mix consisting of a chemical salt compound, water, clay or a gum-thickening agent, and a coloring agent.

While both airtankers and helicopters are equipped to carry fire retardant or water, the helicopters can also transport firefighters, equipment and injured personnel. All CAL FIRE Aircraft are strategically located throughout the state at airbases and helicopter bases. During high fire activity, CAL FIRE may move aircraft to better provide statewide air support.


The men and women of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) are dedicated to the fire protection and stewardship of over 31 million acres of California’s privately-owned wildlands. In addition, the department provides varied emergency services in 36 of the State’s 58 counties via contracts with local governments.

The department’s firefighters, fire engines, and aircraft respond to an average of more than 5,600 wildland fires each year. Those fires burn more than 172,000 acres annually.

CAL FIRE also addresses more than 350,000 non-fire-related emergencies each year. The department is always ready to respond – medical aids; hazardous material spills; swiftwater rescues; search and rescue missions; civil disturbances; train wrecks; floods, earthquakes and more.

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