Appointment of Desiree Horton and Wayne Krager to Forestry Fire Pilot

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Desiree Horton and Wayne Krager to Forestry Fire Pilot, assigned to Prado Helitack Base in the San Bernardino, Inyo, Mono Unit. This permanent appointment will be effective on October 6, 2014.

Desiree Horton is a native of Southern California and was exposed to helicopters at an early age. After graduating from North Hollywood High School she went straight into flying. She spent years and countless jobs working double and triple shifts to pay for lessons and training. She spent the next 24 years flying such missions from tours, aerial photo shoots, traffic watch, news gathering for all of the Los Angeles stations, pilot/reporter for KABC, KTLA, KNBC, KCBS, and KCAL in Los Angeles, movie production flying, on camera flying for films and documentaries, frost patrol, organ donor transplant team flights, corporate, private, government, and celebrity charter, animal heard head count flights, land survey, power line patrol, heavy lift construction, police contract for Corona Police Department, USFS fire contracts, heli-ski, seismic, car race chase support annually including such races as the Baja 1000 in Mexico. Prior to coming on with CAL FIRE last year as an LT, she spent the previous 9 years flying fire contracts all over the California and the U.S. for various companies with the end goal to be a fire pilot for CAL FIRE. To stay proficient with her utility and mountain flying skills outside of fire season, Desiree flew heavy lift construction all over the Midwest and Heli-ski and seismic in Utah during the winter months. Desiree was hired on with CAL FIRE as a Limited Term Pilot in March of 2013 and was based up at Kneeland until coming to the Prado Helitack as of January 1, 2014. Desiree said “I am very excited to have been a part of starting the new firefighter 1 program at Prado and look forward to the rest of my life and career here in the Unit with Prado Helitack and the entire CAL FIRE family.”

Wayne Krager was raised in Southern California, and always had an interest in law enforcement, firefighting, and aviation. Wayne graduated from Cal State Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Administration in the fall of 1992. During his last years in college, Wayne earned his private pilot helicopter rating in 1992. It was at this time he decided to join the Army on the delayed entry program to become a Warrant Officer Helicopter pilot. Having served 7.5 years in the Army as a UH-1 Huey pilot Wayne decided to leave the Army and become a Deputy Sheriff of San Bernardino County in hopes of becoming a pilot with them. After completing the Sheriff Academy in December of 2001 and working in the jail, Wayne was asked to join the Aviation Unit. During his tenure with the Sheriff department assigned to Prado on a contractual basis, Wayne knew he wanted to fly permanently for Cal Fire. After serving 13 years with the County plus the 7.5 with the Army, he gained valuable knowledge and experience which would help me obtain my goal of flying for Cal Fire. Wayne stated “Through dedication and hard work, along with the support of my very loving wife and family members, I am now firefighting as a helicopter pilot for Cal Fire back flying 305 at Prado. I’m very blessed and honored to have been chosen for this position.”

We are glad to have such highly dedicated, qualified Pilot’s as well as good people in our Prado Helitack Program. Please join me in congratulating Desiree and Wayne and welcome them into the BDU/ CAL FIRE Family.

Rod Bywater
Unit Chief
San Bernardino Unit

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