Utah adds muscle to wildfire fighting arsenal; Type 1 helicopters are big, fast, highly-effective

Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 16, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands has added two Type 1 helicopters to help battle wildfires throughout the state.

An exclusive-use contract with Croman Corp. will allow state fire officials to use the Type 1 helicopters from June 1 through the end of September for the next five years, according to a news release. Both SH-3H aircraft will be available to respond to wildfires in July and August.

Type 1 helicopters are the largest and fastest in wildfire suppression, state fire officials said. The aircraft can able to deliver large amounts of water or retardant as they assist ground crews and other aircraft, the release states.

“This is a greatly needed addition to our firefighting toolbox here in Utah. Along with the assets provided by our federal partners, these helicopters will improve our initial attack and large fire support capabilities,” said Mike Melton, the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands’ aviation officer.

One of the helicopters will be fashioned with a long line bucket, with the other one will have a tank with a capacity of approximately 800 gallons, state fire officials said.

One of the helicopters will be stationed at Cedar City Regional Airport, according to the news release. The other helicopter’s location is still being determined, state fire officials said.

Along with the contracted aircraft, three seasonal helicopter managers have been hired, “bringing a wealth of experience at the federal level in managing this type of aircraft,” the news release states.

State fire officials say the aircraft will be dispatched out of the interagency fire centers throughout the state. They will also be available for use by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other federal land management agencies in Utah.

Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands

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