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Mild fire season leads Cal Fire to release two air-support helicopters

Team coverage: Amid milder wildfire season, Cal Fire sends back some helicopters
Amid milder wildfire season, Cal Fire sends back two helicopters 05:05

MARIN COUNTY -- The California wildfire season has been tame enough so far that Cal Fire officials have sent a pair of fire-fighting helicopters home until next year.

The two helitankers are contracted annually by Cal Fire to help with wildfire air support. Officials said they weren't extending the contracts due to the mild fire season. 

Cal Fire LNU spokesperson Jason Clay says the two helicopters are useful tools when needed.

"These are contracted for 105 days and there are several factors that go into extending the contract," said Clay. "For example, fire conditions, needs. But if needed, we can extend it." 

Clay says each helicopter can carry up to 2800 gallons of water. 

"So far we experienced 286 fires, and they burned 564 acres," he explained.

Two of the pilots tell KPIX that the multimillion-dollar helicopters are essential when needed. Cal Fire says they want to assure residents they have the personnel needed to fully serve the community. 

"We are at high peak staffing and have more than enough air support to tackle fires," Clay said.

Although these helitankers won't be in their ranks after this week, Cal Fire officials say they are prepared for whatever Mother Nature plans to bring. 

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