'Super Scoopers' firefighting planes arrive from Canada as LA County prepares for peak fire season

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Friday, September 15, 2023
'Super Scoopers' arrive as LA County prepares for peak fire season
The annual arrival of 'Super Scooper" firefighting planes from Canada unofficially marked Los Angeles County's preparation for the peak fire season.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For the 30th year in a row, "Super Scooper" firefighting planes have arrived in Los Angeles County from Canada, an annual development that unofficially marks local firefighters' preparations for the region's peak fire season.

Now that the fire season in Quebec is winding down, the planes have made their southern migration to help with wildfires for at least the next 90 days.

Along with the planes, which are capable of scooping up 1,6000 gallons of water in 12 seconds, the Los Angeles County Fire Department on Thursday showed off some of the agency's other tools to fight flames from the air.

There are nearly 30 aircraft at the ready. So, just how busy is the fall wildfire season expected to be?

According to L.A. County Fire Chief Anthony Maronne, heavy rains that fell this year, including those from tropical storm Hilary, have now created a "good news, bad news situation."

"That rain has caused vegetation to grow," Maronne said. "And that vegetation -- when the Santa Ana winds arrive in the fall in October and November, that vegetation is going to grow out and that's going to become fuel for a wildfire. "

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The chief added that he's hoping this fall and winter will not be a busy for Southern California firefighters battling large wildfires.

Southern California Edison is contributing $35 million dollars to help with the firefighting efforts. Cody Tubbs, a spokesman for the utility, said a large percentage of its customers live in fire-prone areas.

"One-fourth of our Southern California's service area is in high fire-risk areas," Tubbs said. "And that's why we're continuing to harden the grid, deploying artificial intelligence and other technologies, utilizing weather stations -- all of which enhances our situational awareness to help us cut any risks that could pose wildfire potential in our communities."

Why doesn't the county simply purchase its own Super Scoopers?

The Fire Department noted that it's less expensive too lease them, adding that two of the Canadian planes being used in L.A. County are no longer in production.