Washington state to use Vietnam-era Army helicopter to fight wildfires

  • Source: KING-TV NBC 5 Seattle
  • Published: 08/20/2019 12:00 AM

VIDEO: An aircraft nearly 50-years-old is being restored to help fight wildfires in Washington state. The Department of Natural Resources is using $1.1 million from the state's budget to bring the Huey helicopter back to life. The helicopter was first built in 1970 and used in Vietnam. The DNR already has nine former Hueys in their fleet to drop water on fires across the state. The aircrafts were given to DNR free of charge when the Army decommissioned them. "It's fun restoring them, something you can really sink your teeth into," said one of the mechanics tasked with refurbishing the aircraft. This helicopter will be the tenth in Washington state's fleet and has been in storage since 2011. Once the helicopters are updated, they're efficient fire fighting tools and much cheaper than buying a brand new equivalent for around $13 million, according to DNR Land Commissioner Hilary Franz.


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