Photos of firefighting helicopters from Chicago, Sacramento, Kern County, and Santa Barbara County

Updated December 29, 2020

Bell 412EP helicopter, Chicago Fire Department. N682FD
Bell 412EP helicopter, Chicago Fire Department. N682FD. Photo by Jon Goldin, July 31, 2018.

At Fire Aviation we always like to receive photos of fire service aircraft, but we look forward to receiving shots of helicopters that are not often seen over wildland fires. Here are a couple of examples of ships from the Chicago Fire Department and the Sacramento Fire District.

Bell Uh-1H helicopter, Sacramento Fire District
Bell Uh-1H helicopter, Sacramento Fire District. N114FD. Photo by Jon Goldin, Sept. 29, 2018.

Kern County and Santa Barbara UH-1H helicopters are often used on fires in Southern California. These are good shots taken by Jon Goldin, who also took the ones above. Thank Jon!

Bell UH-1H helicopter, Kern County Fire Department
Bell UH-1H helicopter, Kern County Fire Department. N408KC. Photo by Jon Goldin, Jan. 1, 2018
Bell UH-1H helicopter, Kern County Fire Department
Bell UH-1H helicopter, Kern County Fire Department. N407KC. Photo by Jon Goldin, Jan. 1, 2018
Santa Barbara County Helicopter 308
Santa Barbara County Helicopter 308. N205KS. Photo by John Goldin

Updated December 29, 2020 to add photo of Santa Barbara County helicopter.

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6 thoughts on “Photos of firefighting helicopters from Chicago, Sacramento, Kern County, and Santa Barbara County”

    1. Snohomish county and Chelan county fire departments in Washington State have “Hueys” with hoists. Chelan takes the hoist off during fire season. They work wild fires with Washington Department of Natural Resources. I don’t know about Snohomish. I haven’t ever seen a helicopter under Forest Service contract with a hoist.

      1. Snohomish County’s UH1H is a sheriff’s office asset, not an FEPP craft., and thus not controversial in having a hoist. Chelan County’s is an FEPP asset, has no hoist, and is ultimately part of the WA DNR fleet. It is not used for rescues, despite the confusing Chelan Co. Fire District 1 paint scheme.

  1. CAL FIRE Hueys are all FEPP and have done short haul and more recently have had hoists installed for years. Nothing in FEPP rules makes that a problem for any agency operating an FEPP ship. Using a hoist is not the issue with FEPP machines but rather having non- agency personnel on the hook. That is why in California, unless availability is an issue, CAL FIRE leaves rthe hoisting of civilians to CHP and their AStars. Historically, in life or death situations, nobody cares whether an aircraft is FEPP, not the FS, not DOI, not the FAA.

    1. CAL Fire has been conducting short haul rescue of civilians at the request of my park agency for several years. The local Huey is in the process of being upgraded to a new Firehawk with a hoist and we expect that the fine folks at CAL Fire will continue to to help us with our rescue operations once they make the change.

      Our CHP colleagues have also been there for us but we are 10 minutes flight time from our CAL Fire base and 30 to 45 for the nearest CHP bird. CAL Fire is usually our first call.

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