BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
Firefighters from all over southern California are preparing to handle big wildfires during a special training It's part of an annual interagency night vision goggle drill.
Kern County pilot Scott Beck has spent close to 30 years in the air.
"It's my favorite place to be in the world almost," he said.
Beck uses his military training to prepare to fight a different type of battle.
"Military training for aviators is probably the best there is in the world, the discipline you learn, the responsibility and the attention to detail very important in the fire world," said Beck.
Ten helicopters are in the air using water from Brite Lake to train and prepare for the fire season which crews say gets busier every year.
"It's absolutely critical that we trade and refiner skills so they were ready when the call comes," said Kern County Fire Chief Brian Marshall.
Firefighters are using secure night vision goggles for the exercise and for the first time live fire.
"When the sun goes down our pilots all put on night vision goggles and that takes the moonlight or the starlight and magnifies it so I’ll pilots can actually see the ground and see the aerial features so they will be able to fly safely at night," he said.
California is dealing with a drought and crews are taking every precaution to make sure the blaze doesn't escape the control lines.
"This is an area where we are not setting a huge amount of fire on the ground where actually using the fire is kind of a target for the helicopters to drop," said Marshall.
Leaders with the training say it’s not a big fire. They are using crews not only in the air but also on the ground. –
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