USA – MALIBU, CA — With a new fire season approaching, Malibu is calling in the big guns.
The city announced Tuesday that the 69 Bravo Helistop, the world’s most advanced helitanker refilling base located at the top of Topanga Canyon, is being upgraded to accommodate the Boeing CH-Chinook 47, the world’s largest firefighting helicopter-tanker.The Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura County Fire Departments have each secured the use of a Chinook 47, which can store up to 3,000 gallons of water. All three helicopters will be based within 14 minutes flight time of 69 Bravo, where metal water containers are being upgraded from 6,000 to 8,000 gallons to accommodate the giant new helicopters. The facility stores 10,000 gallons of water onsite in self-replenishing tanks, in addition to hookups to fire hydrants and water storage.
In the event of a fire, a Chinook 47 will be able to drop water, turn around, refill, and quickly get back to fighting the blaze.In November, Chinook 47 helicopters flew over Malibu and the surrounding Santa Monica Mountains for drills as part of the Expedited Resource Response Plan Pilot Program, a joint effort by Los Angeles and Orange counties.
“It is important and vital that we continue to partner with our peers to provide each other with critically needed air and ground resources that are essential at a moment’s notice, especially during large-scale wildfire events when lives and property are threatened,” LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said in November.
“With the threat of the next big wildfire always looming over us in Malibu, it is heartening to see the impressive capabilities of Bravo 69 and the Chinook helitaners in place, close by and ready to respond to fires in our community,” said Malibu Mayor Paul Grisanti.
Click here to watch water-dropping helicopters filling up at Bravo 69, and here for more information about the facility.