Cal Fire deploys helitack air resources to fight fires

Ian Baird, pilot of the green Bell 407 deployed to the Casino Fire, rises up from dipping water at the reservation's hot spring Monday, July 13. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
The Cal Fire air program is one of the biggest and most experienced aviation programs in the world. Their fleet of over 23 air tankers, 17 air-tactical aircraft and 12 helicopters make it the largest department-owned collection of aerial firefighting equipment anywhere. The agency operates 13 air bases and nine helicopter bases. The Bell 407 Type III Helicopter is a vital part of the program. These aircraft can seat up to seven people and fly for almost three hours without refueling. The aircraft has had some major modifications from older models, including a four bladed main rotor system, increased engine performance and slightly expanded inside cabin area. Passenger seating provides places for six persons, excluding the pilot. As with most light helicopters, the Bell 407 can take o
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