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Charlotte County crews use night vision technology to put out Collier fire

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.– The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is using aviation technology to help Collier County fight brush fires from the skies.

Pilots used ‘Air One’ to drop buckets of water over the weekend and that is not the only tool they have been utilizing. Here you can watch Charlotte County’s Air One chopper use night vision.

The crew dips down into the body of water to help bring relief to growing fires in Collier County. If you take the goggles away, the video shows a sea of darkness.

On Saturday night, crews dropped down to pick up buckets of water over 70 times – watch here.

Charlotte and Collier are the only two counties in Florida that are using night vision to keep you and your family safe.

“We’re not the only ones who have these particular items,” CCSO Chief Pilot Shane Engelauf said, “but we’re the only ones who do the night time fire fighting. It’s a really unique skill set.” Charlotte and Collier’s chief pilots both have military experience.

Engelauf said night time firefighting in turn gives day time on-ground firefighters a huge advantage.

“It allows you to get a hold of the fire. What it does is, during the daytime the winds are so strong and everything is stacking – the heat, the winds, everything is moving. So at night the fire calms down a little bit. It’s not moving as fast, the temperatures aren’t as high and with the night vision it amplifies the light about 10-thousand times,” he said.

In this video you can see the flames below with night vision guiding the pilots to the perfect place to drop water.

“So all the little hot spots you see out there, you can actually see the embers coming off the trees that are burning and it’ll scatter out so you can see where those embers are going and start hitting those hot spots. So when the next day comes around those firefighters have a huge advantage,” Engelauf said.

Night time firefighting is rare in Florida but Engelauf said it’s all worthwhile.

“This is why you do this job is to help people like that,” he said.

CCSO’s aviation team will continue to work with Collier until the fire is completely out.

The post Charlotte County crews use night vision technology to put out Collier fire appeared first on NBC2 News.

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