Cal Fire’s Firefighting Equipment and How It’s Used

A look at Cal Fire's equipment and how it's used.

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Juan Guerra
A firefighter stands atop his firetruck, watching the Powerhouse Fire burn amid a continuing battle against the blaze on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.
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Cal Fire
S-2T Airtanker: Originally a carrier-based anti-submarine warplane, the S-2T was converted to fight fires. The agency has 23 S-2Ts. It's used for initial attack delivery of fire retardant.
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Cal Fire
UH-1H Super Huey Helicopter: Used for fast initial attacks on wildfires, they can be used for a variety of missions including delivery or firefighter personnel and water/retardant drops. Also used for short-haul rescues -- a rescuer is lowered into a location to quickly extract an individual from danger. The victim is then hauled a short distance away to safety.
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Cal Fire
OV-10A Airtactical Aircraft: Used for observation, command and control of firefighting operations. The plane allows for a large field of view from the cockpit. Its crew can provide information to the incident commander on the ground and direct tanker and drops. The aircraft were formerly used for military counter-insurgency operations.
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DC-10 Airtanker: A modified airliner designed to drop water or retardant from three external tanks. It takes about eight minutes to re-fill the tanks and about eight seconds to drop 12,000 gallons of retardant. The rate of the drop can be adjusted.
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CAL FIRE
AH-1 Firewatch Cobra: These helicopters are equipped with infrared and low-light sensor for fire monitoring.
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Cal Fire
Engine Model 14, 15: Calfire uses several different engines. More than 100 of them are Model 14s, 80 are Model 15s.
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Cal Fire
Emergency Crew Transport: Seventeen firefighters can be transported in the ECT. It carries supplies, such as tools, rations, protective equipment -- anything a crew might need to be self-sufficient over a 48-hour period.
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Cal Fire
Bulldozers: Used to construct fire lines. The dozers remove flammable plants and strip land to the bare soil. Cal Fire has about 60 bulldozers in its fleet. They are delivered to an incident aboard over-size load flatbeds.
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Mobile Kitchen Units: Eleven MKUs are located throughout the state. They are equipped with kitchens that prepare food during emergency operations, including wildfires, earthquakes and other disaster responses.
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Mobile Communications Centers: Equipped with computers, radios, laptops, copiers, printers and other tools that allow crews to communicate and provide support.
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CAL FIRE
Boeing 747: The converted aircraft has a pressurized system used to disperse retardant.
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CAL FIRE
Martin Mars: The retired Navy planes were converted into firefighting airtankers that can carry 7,200 gallons of water or retardant and cover an area up to 4 acres. The plane can fill its tanks by skimming over a body of water.
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CAL FIRE
Lockheed P-3 Orion: The Cold War patrol aircraft was converted to an airtanker.
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CAL FIRE
Lockheed P-2 Nepture: The airtankers have a capacity of 2,700 gallons.
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CAL FIRE
CL-215/Bombardier 415 "Superscooper": The aircraft are leased for use during firefighting season in California. The Superscoopers scoop water from lakes are reservoirs.
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