WATCH: Contra Costa County firefighters unveil new helicopter

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Con Air 1 is a new helicopter capable of aerial firefighting and responding to medical emergencies.
Photo credit Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio

Firefighters in Contra Costa County are stepping up their efforts to increase aerial firefighting by introducing a new helicopter ahead of extreme fire danger this weekend.

Con Air 1 was unveiled Friday at Buchanan Field Airport in Concord. It will be used to put out flames from the sky and respond to medical emergencies.

"Recent Red Flag days and recent significant fires accompanied with tremendous unit drawdown makes the addition of this aircraft even more useful for the community," said Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Kevin Platt.

The aircraft is capable of carrying up to 180 gallons of water. Pilot Chris Beasley, alongside a fire captain paramedic, will have the ability to arrive at a fire within minutes.

"We bring a lot of precision. We can get into tight spots, very small water sources and drop with high precision on the fire," Beasley said.

Con Air 1 is a new helicopter capable of aerial firefighting and responding to medical emergencies.
Photo credit Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio

A hoist that connects to the top of the aircraft will be used to rescue someone in danger.

"We can lower someone from hovering up to 250 feet in the air. We can lower a fire captain medic and then pick up that medic and the victim at the same time without landing," Beasley explained.

Con Air 1 is Con Fire's second EMS helicopter in partnership with REACH Air Medical Services.

It has already been used to put out flames in the Moraga-Orinda area this wildfire season.