Cal Fire San Diego adds helicopter based in Ramona to region’s aerial firefighting arsenal
August, 2022 News:
N795HT - The call sign for the aircraft will be “Nine-Five Hotel Tango”
Cal Fire is leasing a firefighting Skycrane helicopter that can carry up to 2,650 gallons of water and will be based in Ramona.(Courtesy of Cal Fire San Diego)
The state is leasing the Sikorsky CH-54 chopper, which can dump up to 2,650 gallons of water
RAMONA — Cal Fire San Diego has leased a firefighting helicopter to operate out of the Ramona airport — outfitted with a contract pilot — to bolster the region’s aerial firefighting capability
The Sikorsky EH1 helicopter, often called a Skycrane, carries up to 2,650 gallons of water. The helicopter became operational Monday.
The state’s $3.4 million contract with a company called Helicopter Transport Services gives Cal Fire exclusive use of the Skycrane and also provides a pilot and mechanics for the aircraft, which can be deployed to neighboring counties as needed. They are considered statewide resources.
Cal Fire San Diego will have use of the aircraft for one year, with two one-year extensions to the contract possible. The state now has 19 “exclusive use” contracts for firefighting helicopters, including 10 helitankers, a type of copter capable of dropping at least 1,100 gallons of water, foam, or retardant.
Before this agreement, Cal Fire didn’t have any helicopters based in San Diego County, with the closest one based at the Hemet-Ryan Air Attack Base in Riverside County. The helicopter will only be used in the daytime.
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N795HT - Cal Fire San Diego adds Skycrane helicopter based in Ramona to region’s aerial firefighting arsenal
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