As fire season becomes a year-long reality, Los Angeles County prepares for the peak of fire danger with the arrival of two Canadian super scoopers. For more than 20 years, the county has leased the aircraft which have the capacity to dump 1,600 gallons of water each.
"It's a really important part of what L.A. County does to ensure we are ready the height of fire season," said L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.
Barger said the county has opted to lease because the cost to purchase is far greater. The aircraft are no longer manufactured, so the county is exploring new options.
"Look at what we may need to purchase because recognizing that these aren't made anymore and Quebec may not be able to lease them to us, we need to be prepared," Barger said.
L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby asked the public to do its part to prevent fires and addressed the threat drones pose as firefighters battles wildfires from the air.
"If our aircraft is grounded, then we might not meet that objective and then we can have a catastrophic wild land fire where we lose control of that fire, lose homes, and potentially lose lives," Osby said.
While the super scoopers are paid for by the county, there is a mutual aid process in place to assist other counties if necessary.
Under extreme circumstances, the help can be immediate, Osby said.
"As fire chiefs, if my counterpart said, 'I need something because we have structures and lives at risk,' I would bypass that process and make sure they get the equipment there immediately," Osby said.
Two Canadian firefighting aircraft arrive in L.A. County for peak fire season