LAFD adds large water-dropping chopper to fleet as peak fire season approaches

VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- City officials and the Los Angeles Fire Department are preparing for peak fire season.

The firefighting fleet now includes a larger chopper that can drop 2,600 gallons of water per load, with Monday marking the first day of the city's 150-day contract for the Erickson Air-Crane. Most standard choppers can only carry 500 gallons per load.

During fire season, the concerns are focused on the combination of dry brush and Santa Ana winds that often become a dangerous combination.

With new choppers on hand, LAFD is prepared for fire season - but officials are urging residents to be ready too.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said everyone should have a plan, which really comes down to knowing where to evacuate and deciding when to go when the time comes.

"Leaving your home when a wildfire is approaching is a difficult and emotional decision," Garcetti said.

"I know a lot of people say, I'm gonna make my stand. I'm gonna stay with my animals, they haven't prepared. It's a moment of panic. But we've also seen these fires in recent years in our city spread by as much as a football field in just a few seconds.

He also encourages residents to find their documents, sign up for city emergency notifications by texting "ready" to 888-777, and to register large pets like horses so responders know where they live.

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