NDF’s air operations primarily rely on two Bell UH-1H “Huey” helicopters and one Bell 212 Eagle Single and the associated Helitack staff, who assist in wildfire suppression, natural resource management, and search and rescue support to local municipalities.
Aviation Services for Wildlfire Management
NDF's daily Initial Attack crew consists of a Pilot, Helitack Manager, Lead Crewman, and seasonal fire fighters; all of which are trained in wildland fire suppression and aerial firefighting. Piloting, aircraft maintenance and aviation program oversight is provided onsite by NDF employees who are FAA licensed and experienced aviation professionals.
Contract assets such as Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) and larger aircraft such as the Bombardier Super Scoopers are also utilized, to provide larger and faster delivery of retardant or water payloads to wildfire suppression operations.
Aviation Services for Resource Management
Air Operations supports natural resource management projects throughout the state. To assist with restoration of ecosystems and watersheds, helicopters are equipped with seeding buckets that spread seed across large amounts of land that are difficult to access with ground-based seeding equipment. Crews also airlift and install soil stabilizing features, such as coir logs, on steep slopes to reduce erosion until vegetation is reestablished on burned sites. Helitack crews, when not helping suppress wildfires, function as a hand crew that implements fuel reduction and restoration projects
Search and Rescue
Air Operations provides support to local municipalities in the form of Search and Rescue. The helicopters and crew are equipped and trained to perform rescue hoist extraction of injured firefighters and other individuals who are unreachable by ground.