Helicopters That Can Fly At Night Join Firefighting Efforts For The First Time In Northern California

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AMADOR COUNTY (CBS13) — Game-changing exertion is present connected the beforehand lines of the Caldor Fire for the archetypal clip ever successful Northern California, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Helicopters that tin alert astatine nighttime and driblet h2o conscionable arrived from Ventura, L.A., and Orange counties. It’s a speedy effect unit that includes 2 CH47 helicopters and 1 S61 helicopter.

READ MORE: Strike Crew Responding To Caldor Fire Has Been Working 12 Days Straight

Right present the Amador County Airport successful Jackson is the location basal for refueling. Pilots said these helicopters tin marque it implicit to the Caldor Fire wrong conscionable minutes, acceptable to dump thousands of gallons of h2o connected the flames. They cannot alert if upwind speeds are supra 40 miles per hour.

“They tin enactment with the crews to unafraid the perimeter of the occurrence oregon enactment astir structures erstwhile typically there’s nary craft support,” said Kyle Tolosano, the U.S., Forest Service Region 5 aviation information manager.

The pilots person night-vision goggles and precocious machine tracking systems. One of the helicopters is equipped with a specialized camera that creates high-definition images of the fire.

“Better information, amended decisions,” said Craig Lapsley, Executive Director of the Coulson Program.

READ MORE: UPDATES: Caldor Fire Grows To 62,586 Acres, 0% Contained

Coulson is the institution that maintains and operates these helicopters. County occurrence departments declaration with them.

“The past portion of the camera is the thermal camera that shows precisely wherever the vigor is. It takes distant the fume and shows precisely wherever the vigor is truthful we tin spot wherever the occurrence really is,” Lapsley said.

This means amended extortion for disquieted families. One of the helicopters, a chinook that utilized to beryllium to the U.S. Army, tin clasp up to 3,000 gallons of h2o oregon retardant.

“They’re moving with the crushed crews and moving intimately to found perimeter power astir the occurrence — immoderate hotspots oregon moving astir captious areas wherever the homes are threatened,” Tolosano said.

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Helicopters are breaking barriers — nary longer bound by daylight.

Anna Giles

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