You’re a fire boss trying to contain an out-of-control wildfire in mountainous terrain, and you literally can’t see the forest for the burning trees. Dense smoke chokes the air, making it nearly impossible to have a good sense of where and how quickly a fire is moving.
Such was the case for firefighters battling this August’s Yosemite Rim fire in California, which had spread to cover more than 134,000 acres in less than two weeks. They needed a bird’s eye view of what was happening — in a hurry. Enter the California Air National Guard and the FAA.