Baja Bush Pilots Rise To The Call In Hurricane's Wake
Hurricane Jimena slammed into mid-Baja roughly two weeks ago, damaging buildings, destroying infrastructure and disrupting water, power and telephone services, while blocking streets and impairing relief efforts. Now the Baja Bush Pilots are seeking resources to help fill the void. The group, originally formed by Arnold Senterfitt, who in the mid-1960s mapped airports in the region, has now organized in recent years to transport supplies when disaster strikes the region. The group is currently seeking donations of clothing, shelter, medication, foods and water purification. The work is critical and time-sensitive. But the greatest needs are constantly shifting. The group is doing its best to keep their web site updated as they arrange to fly supplies into Mulege airstrip, which was in the path of the storm and last week offered about 2,200 feet of usable runway.
The pilots are working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is aware of the group's relief efforts, to smooth the border crossing process when dates and times may be pushed off their filed dates due to the nature of the flights. Aside from the orchestration of relief flights, the Baja Bush Pilots have faced other challenges. The Mexican government recently indicated it would reserve fuel for local rescue missions. Toward that end, the pilots were seeking members last week that could provide aircraft with large enough tanks that they could be used to shuttle fuel.