CENTRAL POINT, Ore. -- This year marks the 100 year anniversary of the Oregon Department of Forestry's aviation unit. These helicopters, air tankers and air attack units play an important role in putting out fires.
ODF's first aviation unit started right after World War One. When soldiers and military planes returned to America, the ODF repurposed both resources to help people in Oregon.
The ODF started their aviation unit by using biplanes. These planes were made to be used in war, but the ODF repurposed them to detect lightning and fires. Technology has drastically changed since the ODF started its aviation unit.
The department regularly uses helicopters now, but those weren't developed until the 1940s and 1950s. Now, the ODF even uses unmanned air units.
Even though the aviation unit is celebrating 100 years, some things have stayed the same.
"The quality of life of folks in the Rogue Valley is very much linked to our mission," said Medford Unit Forester Lee Winslow. "It's not that you have to care that it's a hundred years, but you can rest assured that just like a hundred years ago, the folks in our organization are looking out to try to access the best tools to do our job. We're still doing that today."