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Helitanker can drop 3,000 gallons of water on a wildfire

Fire authorities showcased on Wednesday, Sept. 30, a water-dropping helicopter with a 3,000-gallon capacity that will be available to combat the ever-growing blazes erupting in the region.

“This helitanker is a force multiplier,” Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy said at a press conference at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos. “This literally is the largest tanked helicopter in the world.”



During Wednesday’s demonstration, the twin-propeller aircraft dropped a massive 2,600-gallon curtain of water to the ground, far exceeding the drop made as comparison from a regular OCFA helicopter, which showered about 250 gallons.

Starting Oct. 1, the aircraft will be manned around the clock and be available to regions serviced by Southern California Edison, including Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Edison has provided funding to help lease and operate the CH-47 Helitanker.

“This helitanker will help strengthen the daytime and nighttime fire suppression activities within (Southern California Edison’s) service area and beyond if needed,” SCE President and CEO Kevin Payne said during the press conference.

Fennessy said dropping water onto wildfires greatly helps slow down their spread and authorities hope to use the massive helitanker to combat the growing fires in the region: the El Dorado fire in the San Bernardino National Forest – which has claimed the life of a firefighter – and the Bobcat fire in Angeles National Forest, the second-largest blaze to ever burn in Los Angeles County, should they still be burning.

Source: Orange County Register

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