Utah contracts for two Type 1 helicopters

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Exclusive use for 90 days

File photo of a Croman S-61 dropping water during a protest in Sacramento in 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

The Utah Division of Forests, Fires and Lands has contracted with Croman Corporation to add two Type 1 helicopters to the state’s forest fire suppression resources.

This is the first time Utah has had an exclusive use contract for Type 1 helicopters.

“This is a much needed addition to our firefighting toolbox here in Utah,” said division aviation officer Mike Melton. “With the assets provided by our federal partners, these helicopters will enhance our initial attack and large-scale fire support capabilities.”

The exclusive use contract will be for a maximum of five years, with each aircraft under contract for 90 days each year during the period from June 1 to the end of September. The two SH-3H (S-61) aircraft will be available to respond to forest fires in July and August.

This year, the first aircraft became available for state use on June 15.

One of the helicopters will carry water in an external bucket, and the other will have a fixed tank with a capacity of approximately 800 gallons.

The first helicopter to go online will be parked outside Cedar City Air Center, with the location of the second to be determined later when it becomes available.

In addition to the aircraft, three seasonal helicopter managers have been hired who have federal agency experience in managing this type of aircraft.

The helicopters will be dispatched out of interagency fire centers throughout the state. They will also be made available to the Forest Service, BLM and other federal land management agencies within the state.

croman tank
Croman S-61 with tank modified to drop small bags of water during a demonstration in Sacramento in 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

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