The Las Vegas Interagency Helitack Crew has a long tradition of excellence in fire suppression and helicopter operations. The Las Vegas Helitack Crew is the only Helitack Crew in the country that has the full time participation from four federal agencies: the Bureau of Land Management (Southern Nevada District), the US Forest Service (Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Spring Mountains National Recreation Area), the National Park Service (Lake Mead National Recreation Area), and The US Fish & Wildlife Service (Desert Refuge Complex). Each agency provides funding for personnel and/or equipment. The crew is comprised of a Helitack Manager (BLM), an Assistant Manager (USFS), 2 Squad Leaders (1 USFS, 1 NPS), 2 Senior Helitack Fire Fighters (1 USFS, 1 BLM), and 4 seasonal positions from the four agencies.
The program was started in the early 1980’s with the Las Vegas BLM Field Office and the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. In the 1990’s, Lake Mead National Recreation Area (National Park Service) began providing positions for the crew as well as funding for supplies and materials. In 2003, the first detailers from USFWS began with the crew.
The program is typically very busy during fire season, averaging over 200 hours of flight time and 20+ initial attack fires every year (in 2006 we set a record for the crew with 50 initial attacks and almost 300 hours of flight time!). Although based in Las Vegas, the crew has historically spent on good deal of the summer traveling within the state of Nevada, doing Initial Attack, Extended Attack and large fire support. The crew usually gets one or two out of state assignments per fire season. The helicopter contract is 90 days long and begins during the last week of May or the first week of June. Once the 90 day exclusive use period is over with, the contract is usually extended (on average, with the contract extension, the helicopter is on contract a total of 105+ days).