SuperScoopers Deliver During Busy Day of Firefighting

Aerial units provided support Monday after two fires broke out at about the same time in LA County. Merci, Quebec

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Tuesday, Sep 6, 2011  |  Updated 2:24 PM PDT
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Cal Fire's Firefighting Equipment and How It's Used

A SuperScooper (foreground) and Erickson HeliTanker ready for action.

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Help from Canada arrived just in time to help crews fight two wildfires Monday in LA County.

The county contracts with the province of Quebec to use aircraft that proved vital in Monday's firefights. A fixed-wing SuperScooper and the bright orange Erickson HeliTanker, both of which arrived last week, joined the county's Firehawk chopper to unleash a barrage of drops on two fires.

Just after one fire began near Agua Dulce, another flared in the Mandeville Canyon area. The new arrivals responded to both through a mutual aid agreement that allows the county to share resources with other communities.

"It's our objective to get as much water on that fire as possible," said county fire Chief Daryl L. Osby. "Our mutual aid system allowed us to share those resources so they could control the fires yesterday."

The county is in its 18th year of contracting for the SuperScooper, which can scoop water from a lake or other body of water in 12 seconds. The contract is $2.75 million per fire season, but the cost varies depending on use.

The aircraft can carry up to 1,620 gallons of water and fly for three hours before refueling.

The Erickson HeliTanker has been under contract for seven years at a cost of $2.45 million. It delivers 2,500 gallons of water.

The contract for the SuperScooper is for 90 days. The HeliTanker contract is for 120 days. The contract can be extended into December and January if conditions warrant, according to county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.

The county's Firehawk can drop 1,000 gallons of water.

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