County unveils new firefighting helicopter - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

County unveils new firefighting helicopter

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EL CAJON (CBS 8) - San Diego County officials unveiled a new firefighting helicopter Thursday morning.

The unveiling ceremony took place at Gillespie field in El Cajon, where the new Bell 205 A-1 ++ will be based. The helicopter will be flown by ASTREA, the sheriff department’s aviation unit. The helicopter is capable of hoisting heavy equipment, transporting firefighters to remote locations and is equipped with a 375 gallon water tank.

San Diego County Chairman Bill Horn requested the new helicopter in the aftermath of the devastating May 2014 wildfires. County leaders immediately took action by first conducting a fire protection study started by Supervisor Dianne Jacob, which in the end, recommended adding the new helicopter to the county's firefighting fleet.

The new helicopter comes just as San Diego County enters it's high-risk wildfire season this autumn.

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