Type 1 Helicopters and "Surge" engines - CalFire

Proposal to have 10 exclusive use Type 1 helicopters on contract for the next 3 years. Any body tied into the rumor mill for this proposal? I was always impressed with these machines and if they wind up on initial attack dispatch could do a lot of work on incipient fires along with all the Firehawks coming online.

“Surge” Engines: This sounds like just a couple of reserve engines added to each unit dressed up in fancy talk. I agree it’s needed since we pay a g*d awful amount to staff up some districts engines that are how shall I say…wanting. Better to have our own equipment ready to use.


Yep on the 10 exclusive use type 1 copters. 4 additional FireHawks… 2 “surge” engines per unit. 10 “surge” dozer placed throughout the state. 400 Million for additional staffing.


The Type 1 EU Helicopters occurred in 2021 with 8. So they are increasing the number to 10 for 120 day Availability Period each of the next 3 years till the C130’s get tanked and online. The “Surge” Engines & Dozers are new equipment to be added to the fleet without an increase in staffing. So think about it another way. When there is a hold all staffing pattern and a unit runs out of equipment to staff, there Will now be additional equipment available to staff. Actually sets the employees back and will continue the working AAV TO AAV during the peak season. The 4 new Firehawks will be spares. So instead of 1 spare Hawk, there will now be 5 if the budget goes through as planned.


How were the type 1s deployed last year? “CWN” when an incident requested or IA. Spare Firehawks? There are still have some of the old birds around aren’t there?

LOL, lack of equipment (engines) never entered the chat as to holding us on. At least with extra reserves they won’t be driving some…at least they’ll have more of their own equipment to drive :grinning:!


The Type 1 EU Helicopters were dispatched on IA fires in their area. The 8 last year were mostly in the North and started the 120 M.A.P/EU around July. They were used as a region resource meaning Redding in the North and Riverside in the South had control over them. I believe the same thing will happen this year as well.

As for the surge Hawks, yes there are several spare UH1’s (H904-H909). But in talking with air folks, the pilots can have difficulty going from the glass cockpit of the Hawk back to the UH1 (think someone who learned to drive a Stick shift being asked to drove a “3 on the tree”)

The Engines and Dozers will take time to purchase and put in service. But with all but 13 out of 356 Engines staffed at 2.33 instead of the 3.11. When SP happen, there will.be additional equipment available to cover that is CF equipment instead of LG equipment .


Another bit about the spare hawks, besides the cockpit familiarity and safety factors surrounding that, is the maintenance cycles of the 70’s are vastly different than the UH1’s, taking them out of service for at least a day every 40 hours of flight time, with longer maintenance periods at 120 hours and multiple weeks of downtime in the 360 hour I believe for phase maintenance inspection. That can put a ding into the Type 1 IA availability of agency ships, especially in these recent heavy/lengthened seasons. And some (all?) of these ships are year-round rescue ships as well, so flight hours burn year-round and a PMI might pop up in July.

I’ve seen some of the T1 EU ships “based” in Units that don’t have a helitack, like Siskiyou/Yreka/Weed, or Auburn or Placerville airport, Chico Airport etc. But like ehoss said, they’re at the whim of the region, so “based” is “when nothing is burning” and at times those ships are practically flying fire to fire.


Curious, how many bases have been converted to Firehawks. If there are any womp/womps left, what is the timeline for their conversion?

Yes there is, saw the Fire Hawk and the womp/womp flying into Columbia AAB yesterday afternoon. Couldn’t tell you if it was the old C-404 or not. But it was great to hear the pop of the rotor’s.

8 of the 12 Helitack bases have the ships “Stateside” However that doesn’t mean the ship is in service. I believe the following are in service working
104, 205, 301, 404, 406, 903
101, & 305 are in Sacramento but not in service yet.
The 4 remaining are somewhere in the build/delivery pipeline.