CAL FIRE’s Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit (LNU) welcomed two additional type-1 helitankers to the unit, which covers Sonoma Valley, earlier this summer. The helitankers will be used exclusively for aerial firefighting operations in the LNU.
Helitanker 1CH, from Columbia Helicopters, is based out of Napa County Airport, and Helitanker 37S, from Siller Brothers, is based out of the Sonoma Air Attack base at the Sonoma County Airport, according to a press release announcing the additions. Three large helicopters now serve the region, including CAL FIRE’s own type-1 Hawk “Copter 104,” based in Lake County.
The helitankers are positioned to not only arrive more quickly at any new fire within the unit, but can also be dispatched to multiple fires occurring at the same time. They are also available for fire assignments in the greater Bay Area and the rest of California, according to the release.
CAL FIRE’s staffed helicopters are augmented, when needed, by exclusive-use (EU) contracted, or “call when needed,” helicopters, such as the two helitankers now exclusive to the LNU. CAL FIRE acknowledged the reliability and dependability of EU contracts, noting they provide “greater efficiencies in getting helicopters to the initial attack stage of fires.”
Read more on this story at the Kenwood Press