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Friday, April 25, 2008

Calif. Needs More Helicopters to Fight Wildfires

Costing about $3.5 million, the aircraft (perhaps a Chinook or Skycrane) will be used primarily for patrol, search and rescue, and eventually for dropping water or fire retardant and will be based out of Auburn airport. After last year’s devastating Angora fire at South Lake Tahoe, questions arose as to why firefighting aircraft weren’t based in the Truckee-North Tahoe area. According to the California Dept of Forestry and Fire Protection (Calfire), an air attack plane used for spotting and coordinating efforts and two air tankers are based out of Grass Valley, which can respond to the Truckee-Tahoe area in about 15 minutes, but it is not enough.  A U.S. Forest Service-contracted helicopter may be calling Truckee-Tahoe Airport home for the next four years. The airport district board voted unanimously to make the airport home base for a large firefighting helicopter. The additional helicopter would allow for a much faster response time, which is crucial during the state’s fire season.  For related news
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