Salt Lake City – The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands has contracted with Croman Corporation, adding two Type 1 helicopters to the state’s wildfire suppression resources.
This is the first time Utah has had an exclusive use contract for type 1 helicopters.
“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 division’s aviation officer.
The exclusive use contract will be for up to five years, with each aircraft under contract for 90 days each year from June 1 until the end of September. Both SH-3H aircraft will be available to respond to wildfires in July and August.
This year the first aircraft became available for state use on June 15.
Type 1 helicopters are the largest and fastest in wildfire suppression. These aircraft will be able to deliver large amounts of water or retardant as they assist ground crews and other aircraft. One of the helicopters will be fashioned with a long line bucket, and the other one will have a tank with a capacity of approximately 800 gallons.
The first helicopter to come online will be stationed out of the Cedar City Air Center, with the second one’s location determined later when it becomes available.
Along with the aircraft, three seasonal helicopter managers have been hired that bring a wealth of experience at the federal level managing this type of aircraft.
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, BLM and other federal land management agencies within the state.