State Helicopters Can't Fight fires on Federal Lands in Montana - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

State Helicopters Can't Fight fires on Federal Lands in Montana

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GREAT FALLS -

Using state helicopters, UH-1H helicopters to be exact, has stirred up controversy around the state being able to use them on federal land to fight wildfires in the state.

It was even our question of the week: "Should certain state helicopters be barred from fighting wildfires if they do not meet federal standards?"

Well, now it looks like Montana’s five firefighting helicopters will not be used to respond to fires on U.S. and forest service lands this year.

So then, the question that everyone's asking:”What's wrong with state helicopters?

Federal standards require that those helicopters use smaller buckets to scoop water. Last week, Governor Steve Bullock asked for a review on the helicopters by federal aviation experts.The review, done by the Montana department of natural resources aviation program, found that the aviation program is safe.

John Tubbs, Director of the DNRC said he believes that the issues will be resolved before next year's fire season.

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