Drill on the Refuge today will include helicopter training Helicopter Flight Buckrail - Jackson Hole, news
Chopper works Horsethief Fire in September 2012. (USFWS)

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The National Elk Refuge will host the field component of an emergency responder training on Wednesday, July 26 at approximately 7:30 pm. A helicopter and ambulance will be used during the exercise, with personnel from Jackson Hole Fire/EMS, Teton County Search and Rescue, and Teton Village Fire Department showing up on scene during the practice session.

It’s all part of a course led by Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Battalion Chief Brian Coe. It will focus on landing zone selection and preparation, and will teach firefighters how to safely approach, depart, and work around helicopters.

Crews work around helicopter on the National Elk Refuge during the Horsethief Fire in 2012.

The field exercise will take place near the end of East Broadway Avenue, immediately east of the National Elk Refuge administrative offices. Participants will use a driveway on the north side of East Broadway Avenue that leads to a city water pump house. The same location has previously served as a temporary helicopter landing zone, most recently during the Horsethief Canyon Fire in 2012 and the Woods Canyon Fire in 2016.

The Refuge temporary landing zone will also be available next month during the Total Solar Eclipse as an alternate or overflow location if the landing site at St. John’s Medical Center is in use or unavailable. The identification and familiarization of the helicopter landing site represents one of many ways in which Teton County, the Town of Jackson, federal land managers, and other organizations are preparing and planning for the significant influx of visitors anticipated to flock to the area to view the rare celestial event.