LA County Receives New ‘Super Scoopers' From Canada to Help Fight Fires

Southern California Edison has spent millions of dollars on new "super scooper" aircraft that are aimed at helping firefighters fight fires.

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LA County received new "super scoopers" that will help firefighters battle flames just as the wildfire season seems to be picking up.

Wildfire fighters just received their annual "super scooper delivery," courtesy of our friends in Canada.

"Our department's fleet or aerial firefighting resources is robust," said acting Chief Anthony Marrone, from LA County Fire.

This year, the CL-415 "super scoopers" hit the ground running.

Last Thursday, the very first day of their contract, the big yellow planes helped tame the explosive Route Fire which burned north of Castaic.

One of the newest members of the Southern California's fleet of "leased" aircraft is the Heli-Tanker 55.

Along with the increasing fire threat comes the need for better tools. Firefighters are calling these aircraft a "game changer" and for one very important reason.

Flight engineer Heather Balint often flies in the Heli-Tanker 55 chopper that drops loads of water or retardant. She does this overnight in complete darkness with infrared goggles and specialized equipment.

"If we're doing 3,000 gallons, it could take up to 90 seconds," Balint said.

SoCal Edison spent $18 million for a Heli-Tanker 55 chopper and two other choppers like it.

"Edison estimates it has reduced the probability of losses from catastrophic wildfire by 65 to 70%," said Larry Chung of SoCal Edison. "All fire agencies without out footprint have these available to them."

Power lines and towers are increasingly the sources of the sparks that start wildfires. As a result of climate change, utilities like Edison are now in the firefighting business as well.

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