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Ventura County Getting Use Of Two Huge Helicopters For Battling Big Blazes

(Southern California Edison photo)
One of the CH-47 helicopters leased by Southern California Edison to help Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange County firefighters

Southern California Edison leases three helicopters for use in Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange Counties

Just in time for peak brush fire season, Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties have some powerful new tools in battling blazes.

Southern California Edison provided nearly $18 million dollars to lease two huge firefighting helicopters to support the fire agencies. The twin rotor CH-47 helicopters can carry 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant. They can also operate at night. Edison also leased a thousand gallon Sikorsky S-61 helitanker to support firefighting activities.

Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen spoke at a Monday news conference showcasing the helicopters. He says the region’s fire agencies help each other, but the three big helicopters are a welcome addition.

The quick reaction force has a mobile base which can be moved near the scene of a major blaze, for fast flight turnarounds for the helicopters.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.