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LA County Unveils ‘Super Scooper’ Firefighting Aircraft

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VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — County fire officials unveiled a pair of heavy-duty water-dropping aircraft on Monday as firefighters continued to battle a fast-moving blaze in the Angeles National Forest.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports two Bombardier CL-415 “Super Scooper” firefighting aircraft are ready for duty.

The aircraft — which are on lease to the Los Angeles County Fire Department from the Canadian Provence of Quebec — are renowned for their ability to reload their tanks from skimming on lakes and reservoirs.

In addition to the Bombardiers, L.A. County Fire has also leased one Erickson Skycrane Helitanker to support and augment the department’s air operations.

“On every first report of a brush fire, if someone calls 911 and says, ‘The brush is on fire’, we send all these resources, and also include our aircraft, which is three aircraft: the helicopter, our Super Scoopers here and the Erickson Skycrane,” said Batt. Chief Mark Savage of L.A. County Fire told CBS2.

All together, the aircraft will cost about $5.2 million for a 3-month lease, a cost that L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said is worth every penny.

“They are invaluable assets to us when we have a major brush fire,” he said.

The Scoopers’ fast turnaround time for water drops and ability to stay on station for hours at a time could significantly enhance performance both in initial response to fires and in long-haul operations where 1,600 gallon water or foam suppressant drops can save lives and property.

Aircraft crews have conducted preparation and familiarization checks ahead of the official start of their 120-day contract back on Sept. 1.

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