Oregon Helicopters Currently Assisting on Washington, Montana Wild Fires
Date: Monday, August 07, 08:44 GMT
Topic: Civil Industry News
Three of the most efficient and cost effective fire fighting
helicopters in the nation are now at work on the wild fires burning in
North Central Washington. A Columbia Helicopters 234 Chinook, and two
Columbia Helicopters Vertol 107-II’s are flying in support of fire
fighting efforts on the Flick Creek, Tinpan and Tripod Complex fires.
The aircraft are under contract to the U.S. Forest Service, and
Incident Commanders working on these fires are coordinating their
The 234 Chinook is the largest commercial heavy-lift helicopter in the
U.S., with an external lifting capacity of approximately
26,500-pounds. It is equipped with a 2,650-gallon SEI Bambi Bucket,
with Powerfill system, which is suspended 200 feet below the aircraft.
Pilots can fill this bucket, outfitted with four high volume pumps,
using water sources as shallow as 18-inches. The pumps can fill the
bucket in less than 90 seconds.
The Vertol 107’s have a lifting capacity of approximately 11,000-pounds, and are equipped with 1,000-gallon SEI buckets. Using these buckets suspended well below the helicopters, these aircraft are able to take advantage of water sources near the fire that may not be available to tanked aircraft due to surrounding timber or other rotor-strike hazards. The buckets can also be filled from lakes, streams, stock ponds, or portable tanks filled from water trucks.
These buckets enable the aircraft to establish high standards for efficiency on the fire lines. On a recent fire in Oregon, the 234 Chinook currently working in Washington dropped 256,000 gallons in an eight-hour period, for an hourly average of 32,000 gallons per hour. Working on the Cavity Lake Fire in Minnesota, one of the company’s Vertols delivered 83,640 gallons in 5.3 hours, for an average of 15,780 gallons per hour. Based on contracted rates with the Forest Service, these helicopters have some of the lowest cost-per-gallon-delivered rates of any fire fighting helicopter, and significantly lower delivery costs than fixed-wing tankers.
A fourth aircraft belonging to Columbia Helicopters, a Vertol 107-II, which is currently fighting fire in Montana, joins these aircraft in supporting ground fire fighting efforts across the Western United States. So far this season, the company's aircraft have fought on fires in Oregon, Washington, California, Ne- vada, New Mexico, Montana, Minnesota and Florida.
Click here to download the Boeing Vertol 107-II Specifications
Click here to download the Boeing 234 "Chinook" - Utility - Specifications