Aviation Program

image of drone with words 'If you fly, we can't'

CAL FIRE’s fleet of more than 60 fixed and rotary wing aircraft make it the largest civil aerial firefighting fleet in the world. CAL FIRE’s world-renowned aviation program responds to thousands of wildlands fires throughout California each year. CAL FIRE’s current aviation fleet includes Grumman S-2T airtankerBell UH-1H Super Huey HelicoptersSikorsky S70i Helicopters, and North American OV-10A (& 1 D Model) Bronco Air Tactical Aircraft. These aircraft, highly skilled pilots, and aviation support staff are strategically located throughout California at our 13 air tanker bases, 10 CAL FIRE helitack bases and one CAL FIRE/San Diego County Sheriff helitack base. Aircraft can reach the most remote State Responsibility Area (SRA) fires in approximately 20 minutes, with the goal of keeping 95% of fires at 10 acres or less.

CAL FIRE’s aviation program continues to look to the future in both technology and aerial firefighting capability. The recent addition of the 12 Sikorsky S70i CAL FIRE HAWK helicopters and future addition of 7 Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules airtankers are an example of CAL FIRE’s commitment to remain the premier firefighting aviation program in the world.

All CAL FIRE helicopters are flown by CAL FIRE pilots.CAL FIRE's current support contractor DynCorp International provides airtanker and air tactical fixed wing pilot services, and all aircraft maintenance services. DynCorp International has received numerous awards by the Federal Aviation Administration. LSI Logistic Specialties Inc. provides procurement and parts management services.