SAN DIEGO (CNS) — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously to purchase a twin-engine helicopter to help battle wildfires.
The supervisors' decision will allow the Department of Purchasing and Contracting director to negotiate a fair price for a Bell 412 EPX Helicopter.
According to information on the supervisors' agenda, the helicopter is estimated to cost $16 million.
Board chairman Nathan Fletcher made the proposal, and said getting the helicopter "has been a long-desired goal," as the region deals with a higher risk of wildfires. He also thanked the San Diego County Sheriff's Department for its assistance with funding.
Fletcher added that the county's current fleet of single-engine helicopters cannot fly at night or carry as much water, but a twin-engine helicopter will address those issues.
As of now, the county's aerial fleet consists of single-engine helicopters with 1960s and 1970s airframes.
Supervisor Jim Desmond credited Fletcher for bringing the proposal forward.
"You need to provide the best firefighting capability possible," he said.
In a related action, supervisors also unanimously approved a roadside vegetation management and evacuation preparedness program, along with a contract with Perimeter Solutions to provide a brand of fire retardant.