On the heels of the 4,000-acre Williams fire that continues to burn in the Angeles National Forest, Fire Chief Daryl Osby, along with Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, unveiled our Department's 2012 fire season firefighting aircraft line up at a media event held on September 4 at Van Nuys Airport. Two Bombardier CL-415 Super Scoopers and an Erickson Sky-Crane, on lease from the Canadian Province of Quebec, joined our aircraft arsenal of a Sikorsky S-70 Firehawk and Bell 412 in demonstrating the powerful air attack artillery our Department has on hand to battle any wildfires that should break out this fire season.
"We're in the critical stages of fire season," said Osby, who urged residents to prepare themselves for a fire event with our "Ready! Set! Go!" program. "At the end of September, we start the Santa Ana wind season. The wind is a critical factor in terms of controlling wildfires."
With this year's rainfall averages at only 60 percent of our annual rainfall total, the probability of a wildfire is high. These highly specialized aircraft will be key in the fight against large-scale blazes. The CL-415 Super Scoopers can scoop up to 1,620 gallons of water from a lake in just 12 seconds, as well as inject it with fire-resistant foam — a combination up to three times more effective than water alone. The Sky Crane can scoop up to 1,800 gallons of water in 30 seconds. Both aircraft are also able to find and collect water from unmanned water sources, such as lakes and the ocean. During the event there were demonstrations of the aircraft both on and off the ground, faciliated by our Air Operations crewmembers.
Both Osby and Yaroslavsky, however, stressed that the best way to battle a wildfire is to stop it before it starts. "Whenever there's a brush fire or a wildfire, the homes that tend to be saved are the ones that have cleared flammable material from around their structures," said Yaroslavsky.