Blue Cut Fire: Where Are the Super Scoopers? - NBC Southern California
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Blue Cut Fire: Where Are the Super Scoopers?

Super scoopers may not be so super for every situation

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    Blue Cut Fire: Where Are the Super Scoopers?
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    A firefighting Super Scooper airtanker drops water over the Brea Fire on November 15, 2008 near Yorba Linda, California.

    Two super scoopers arrived in Southern California earlier this month to help battle the region's wildfires. So why aren't they being used to make water-drops on the monstrous Blue Cut Fire in the Cajon Pass?

    As it turns out, super scoopers may not be so super for every situation.

    "The super scoopers, although they are a great resource, what we have in terms of aircraft works better," Bob Poole with the San Bernardino National Forest tells NBC4's media partner KPCC.

    Firefighters are relying instead on helicopters, air tankers and two DC-10 airplanes — partly because of the fire's location. Poole says even if San Bernardino had its own super scooper, the plane may not have been used in this situation.

    "We turn around the equipment much quicker with those retardant-dropping planes than we would using the super scooper, which has to go a much longer distance to pick up water," Poole told KPCC.

    If San Bernardino officials want to borrow a super scooper, they'd need to ask the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which leases the aircraft from Canada.

    The Blue Cut Fire has charred more than 45 square miles and forced tens of thousands to evacuate.

    Read more from KPCC

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