IRWINDALE, Calif. -- A fleet of firefighting "quick reaction force" helitankers, pilots and support crews will continue to fight wildfires across Southern California through the rest of the year, officials announced Tuesday.
With heat waves expected to grip Southern California throughout the summer, the region's fire agencies are staying ready for dangerous wildfires.
And to battle the next fast-moving blaze, crews will be depending more and more on their modes of attack from the air.
Fire departments throughout the region plan to be more aggressive battling fires primarily from the sky. They are beefing up their fleet of helitankers, pilots and support crews.
"We are aware that the QRF resources behind me will allow us to fight fires more effective than before so they don't become as large and impossible to control," Los Angeles County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone said at a news conference Tuesday.
QRF or Quick Reaction Force is an aerial firefighting performance-based program in collaboration with Southern California Edison.
"Southern California Edison has nearly doubled our contributions to about $35 million to pay for this quick reaction force," Steven Powell, president and CEO of the utility company. "These helitankers are really impressive tools."
Impressive tools that firefighters throughout Southern California will depend more than ever to combat explosive fires.
"A big challenge we face this year along with the added fuels from winter storms is access to fires via fire roads," said Battalion Chief Nick Cleary of the Ventura County Fire Department. "These additional aircraft will assist our units in keeping those fires small until ground resources can arrive."