GRASS VALLEY, Calif July 1, 2023 – CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Chief Brian Estes explains the capabilities of CAL FIRE’s new helicopter, the S-70i Cal Fire Hawk.

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Faster, with greater capacity to carry water, these helicopters also allow CAL FIRE to conduct night flight operations.

These new generation helicopters will replace CAL FIRE’s aging fleet of 12 Super Huey Helicopters. In Fiscal Year 2022-2023 additional funding was approved to purchase four additional S70i Fire Hawk Helicopters to increase the aviation program‘s surge capacity and to maintain operational capabilities during mandatory maintenance cycles.

The CAL FIRE HAWK’s primary mission is responding to initial attack wildfires and rescue missions. When responding to wildfires, the helicopter can quickly deliver up to a 9-person Helitack Crew for ground firefighting operations and quickly transition into water/foam dropping missions.

CAL FIRE Fire Hawk at the Grass Valley Air Attack Base. Photo: YubaNet


Gross Weight: Internal 22,000 lbs./External 23,500 lbs.
Cruise Speed: 160 mph
Night Vision Capable
Range: 250 miles
Endurance: 2.5 hours
Rotor Diameter: 53 feet and 8 inches
Engines: Twin turbine engine, T700-GE701D

This concludes our mini series on the tools and technology deployed to keep all of us a little safer during peak season. See the other stories below.