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County Renews Lease For Firefighting Air Tankers

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(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a $13.75 million, five-year lease renewal of two amphibious air tankers, or SuperScoopers, from Quebec to help fight wildfires.

The lease deal allows county firefighters to call on the SuperScoopers as needed, incurring expenses only if the equipment is requested.

The actual costs are: $490,794 for the first 30 days of use, plus $945 per hour of actual flying time, and $10,910 per day after that.

The fixed-wing amphibian aircraft are built for maneuverability, steep descents and low-speed, precision drops, according to their manufacturer, Bombardier Inc. The aircraft can land on unpaved runways, lakes or rivers. It takes only 12 seconds for the plane to scoop 1,621 gallons of water from a reservoir and it adds foam fire suppressant to its load.

The lease begins September 1, allowing county firefighters to call on them before then if needed. The agreement has been each year renewed since 1996.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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