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Ventura County Beefs Up Airborne Firefighting, Search And Rescue Capabilities With Two Additional Helicopters

(KCLU photo)
One of Ventura County's new Firehawk helicopters demonstrates its water-dropping capabilities at Camarillo Airport Thursday.

Firehawk helicopters more powerful, safer than existing helicopters in fleet.

Ventura County has two new helicopters which will beef up the county’s firefighting, and search and rescue capabilities. They are former military Blackhawk helicopters which have been refurbished, and upgraded to what are called Firehawk helicopters.

Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen says they are larger, and more powerful than the four Vietnam-era Huey helicopters the county has been using. They can carry nearly triple the amount of water as the Hueys, which the county has used for decades.

(KCLU photo)
Ventura County's new Firehawk helicopters have nearly triple the watter carrying ability as the older Huey helicopters in its fleet

Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub says they are also better equipped than the Hueys for search and rescue missions.

The Firehawks arrived just in time for Ventura County’s high fire season. They cost just under nine million dollars, but county officials say brand new would have cost more than $40 million dollars. The county now has eight helicopters in its public safety fleet.