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.

A Kern County FD night-flying helicopter assisted last month on the fires in Northern California

Kern County FD Helicopter 407 UH-1H

Above: Kern County Fire Department Helicopter 407, a UH-1H. Kern County photo.

Kern County Fire Department (map) has two helicopters, UH-1H’s, outfitted for flying at night to assist firefighters on the ground. One of them assisted on the Tubbs Fire last month, the blaze that eventually destroyed thousands of homes and killed numerous residents.

The Tehachapi News has an article about the Department’s night-flying program. Below is an excerpt.

After the Cedar Fire chewed up hundreds of thousands of acres in 2003, killing 15 people and costing well north of $1 billion, agencies recognized certain policies had to change, and that included implementing night-flying helicopters, said Pat Williams, the Kern County Fire Department’s chief pilot.

Under the FIRESCOPE program, a partnership representing local, rural and metropolitan fire departments, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and federal fire agencies, guidelines were created for night flying.