USA / Canada The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted this week to award a five-year contract to the government of Quebec to lease two Super Scoopers during fire season.
The aircraft are due to arrive Aug. 12, said Tony Bell, spokesman for Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.
Southern Californias drought-extended fire season has increased the areas need for the massive water-dropping aircraft, officials have said.
During the Sand fire in the Santa Clarita Valley last week, Antonovich called for an assessment of the countys firefighting fleet of aircraft and suggested the county might buy its own Super Scoopers.
One of the worst fires seen in the SCV in 10 years, the Sand fire erupted July 22 and burned 41,432 acres, destroying 18 homes and killing one person. It was declared fully contained Wednesday, nearly two weeks after it broke out.
County officials said the contract with Quebec to lease two Super Scoopers did not preclude augmenting county fires own fleet.
Los Angeles County has leased Super Scoopers, amphibious CL-415 tankers, for fire season every year since 1994, Bell said.
The contract for the Super Scoopers is estimated to cost a maximum of $8.25 million annually, which adds up to a total of $41.25 million for five years.
In addition to leasing aircraft, the county owns eight firefighting helicopters including three Sirkosky helicopters and five Bell 412 helicopters, Bell said.
L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby, along with the countys chief executive officer, will go before supervisors in the next 30 days with a report on the best way to supplement the current fleet. It could include leasing additional aircraft or purchasing super scoopers for year-round use.
The report will also look into the benefits of leasing or purchasing other aircraft such as the rotary wing and fixed wing, Bell said.