The aircraft is being leased under a five-year contract from aviation services provider Talon Helicopters, having previously been trialled in 2022.
The helicopter has a 900-liter water tank that can be filled in approximately 20 seconds. It also has a night vision-capable cockpit, allowing for crew to better identify hazards and active parts of wildfires.
The rotorcraft has already been used to tackle a number of fires during the 2023 wildfire season.
“Firefighting at night can be more effective due to lower temperatures, higher humidities and it’s something that I think our organisation could do better at,” said Aaron Barnhardt, a Provincial Helicopter Specialist with Alberta Wildfire, speaking to Canadian broadcaster CBC.
“We identified it as kind of something we could work on and this aircraft is a tool to support not just aerial firefighting at night, but it can help to support ground firefighting, like heavy equipment and crews,” he added.
Jon Adams evaluated the impact of, and response to Canada’s 2023 wildfire season in the November issue of AirMed&Rescue.