Supervisor Mike Antonovich
The lease contract for two fire-fighting aircraft has been extended through March 15 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on a motion by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.
The aircraft, a pair of CL-415 Super Scoopers, would help ensure that the Los Angeles County Fire Department is prepared for any type of major fire incident during the current drought, according to a news release by Antonovich’s office.
“Although Los Angeles County is expected to receive some significant rainfall later this week, our region is still in a drought and fire danger remains high,” Antonovich said. “In addition to county Fire’s own aerial fleet, the Super Scoopers are powerful tools to protect life and property.”
The Super Scoopers are capable of carrying up to 1,620 gallons of water, can scoop water from a lake in only 12 seconds, be airborne in as little as five minutes and fly three hours before refueling, according to the news release.
“Super Scoopers are a very powerful tool in addition to the county’s current area arsenal,” said Tony Bell, communications deputy and spokesman for Antonovich’s office. “They are very maneuverable and agile, so they can target particular fire zones that maybe can’t be targeted by some other apparatus or human resources. They carry large quantities of water, can be dispatched quickly and be a very effective tool.”
The Super Scoopers, which have been leased annually during fire seasons from the government of Quebec since 1994, operate under 90-day contracts, Bell said.
The current contract is almost up, but fire danger in Los Angeles County remains high due to the current drought, so it was extended another few weeks under the direction of Antonovich, officials said.
Plans to lease the pair again toward the end of summer during regular fire season remain in place, Bell said.
– Melissa Lampert