The Super Scoopers have returned to LA County to help fight fires for the next three months. The two planes are rented by the Los Angeles County Fire Department every year for the last two decades to assist with fire control. The planes are referred to as Quebec-1 and Quebec-2 and currently reside at the Van Nuys Airport. The department opts to rent the units rather than purchase to cut on cost associated with maintenance.
“When we lease them, it comes with the maintenance, the pilots and everything included,” says spokesperson for Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Tony Bell. “It would cost far too much to purchase them and provide everything.”
Supervisor Kathryn Barger says the planes are a symbol that the county is in the height of fire season.
"When you see the Super Scoopers, thats when our citizens know and our firefighters know that we're in the most critical part of the fire season."
"For the county it means that we're adding one more resource to conquer the fires. We've seen what's going on down in Murrieta right now, the need to ensure that we have everything available and ready to act swiftly," says LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby.
The two planes always fly in tandem. Each plane can carry up to 1600 gallons of water and refill its tanks in 12 seconds.
"Water rushes inside of the tanks at such a speed that within 12 seconds, all of the tanks are filled up," says Chief pilot Stephon Monet.
This is Monet's 20th year flying in Southern California. He says that every fire season has been different so far.