Air Operations

The Air Operations division operates Bell UH1 helicopters for the purpose of Wildland Firefighting, Rescue and EMS. The helicopters have tanks mounted to the belly of the aircraft used for water drops on Wildland fires. The overhead view is instrumental in supplying command units on the ground with valuable data in a timely manner. The aircraft are classified as rescue helicopters with capabilities to rescue people from hazardous environments and provide ALS medical transport to area hospitals. On board is a highly advanced rescue hoist that has nearly 250’ of cable enabling crews to perform rescues in areas no other resources are able to reach. Whether in remote mountainous terrain or lowland flooding events, hoist rescue emergencies are a highly technical skill set that requires the utmost coordination amongst the crew. The flight crews are staffed during the day throughout the fire season, typically from May through November. In the off-season or at night, crews are on stand-by for a response. One of the unique capabilities is our ability to function 24 hours a day with the use of night vision goggles. Metro Fire is one of the only air rescue operations in northern California with this capability.