Sacramento May 5, 2017 – For a sixth year in a row the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) presented CAL FIRE and DynCorp International with the FAA’s Diamond Award of Excellence for Aviation Maintenance.  The award recognizes CAL FIRE’s aviation maintenance technicians after passing the difficult aircraft safety training program.  More than 75 technicians were recognized and each awarded with the William (Bill) O’Brian Award for Excellence.

“CAL FIRE’s aerial firefighting fleet is an essential element in combatting California’s devastating wildfires,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director. “We are proud of the hard work and commitment that our aviation management staff and DynCorp International mechanics do every day in maintaining the largest wildland aerial firefighting fleet in the world with an award-winning safety and maintenance program.”

CAL FIRE maintains 22 airtankers, 15 air tactical aircraft, 12 helicopters, and other fixed-wing training and administrative aircraft.  All the aircraft are maintained at the department’s maintenance base at McClellan Air Park in Sacramento County.  Since the beginning of CAL FIRE’s air program in the 1970’s, safety and superior maintenance has been a top priority.  Along with CAL FIRE’s seasonal aviation experts, DynCorp International mechanics ensure that the state’s firefighting air fleet is kept in pristine condition.

“This award is a testimony to the exceptional maintenance performed on all CAL FIRE aircraft by DynCorp International team members,” said Jeffrey Cavarra, DynCorp International.  “The strength of commitment by both DynCorp International and CAL FIRE working together in a public/private partnership is a clear reflection of this prestigious award.”

With record breaking rainfall totals throughout California this year, the threat of wildfires during the warmer months will continue to increase as the abundant annual grass crop dries out.  More rain has produced more grass and underbrush, increasing the fuel for wildfires to burn.  Over the next couple of months, CAL FIRE will finish the winter maintenance and safety inspections on the firefighting aircraft and staff them at the department’s airbases and helibases across the state to help assist with this year’s wildfires.

For more information about CAL FIRE’s firefighting air program, visit