Wildcat’s medium Bell 412

Wildcat’s medium Bell 412

Up, up and away

A multitude of helicopters have been assisting firefighting efforts across the West Kootenay and BC.

BC’s mountainous terrain means helicopters are often integral to forest firefighters’ battle against wildfires. Thick smoke from the estimated 19,570-hectare US Stickpin fire grounded aircraft in Grand Forks and surrounding areas for five days. With less than one mile visibility, the rotor-winged aircraft were ready to spool up once the air clears.

Wildcat’s medium Bell 412, which is the contract rappel crew machine, pictured after refueling at the Nelson airport. Tamara Hynd photo

Helicopters are often referred to by firefighting agencies as light, intermediate, medium, and heavy, which is based on their max gross weight, not their lift capacity. However, in general the larger the machine, the larger the lift.

Below: The Kootenay Valley Helicopters intermediate orange “Eleanor” is an AStar AS350 B3. Tamara Hynd photo

Below: Elbow River’s intermediate Bell 407 with a long-line. Tamara Hynd photo

Below: High Terrain’s yellow JetRanger Bell 206B rests by the local airport hanger. Tamara Hynd photo

Below: Wildcat’s medium Bell 412, once again at the Nelson airport, with Nelson City Hall beyond. Tamara Hynd photo

Below: Hydra’s medium Bell 212 lowering its long-line as it comes to land at the Nelson airport earlier in the summer. Tamara Hynd photo