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‘World’s largest helitanker’ demonstrates firefighting water drops in Topanga

‘World’s largest helitanker’ demonstrates firefighting water drops in Topanga

A helitanker capable of dropping 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant atop flames in a single go demonstrated its firefighting abilities in Topanga on Tuesday.

  • Firefighters look on as the A CH-47 Chinook helicopter passes by the 69 Bravo refilling base Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The CH-47 Chinook helicopter lands at the 69 Bravo refilling station in Malibu, CA Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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  • A CH-47 Chinook drops 3,000 gallons of water over Malibu during a test flight Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Pilots depart from the A CH-47 Chinook helicopter Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • A CH-47 Chinook fills up 3,000 gallons of water at the 69 Bravo refilling base Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • A Super Scooper flies past firefighters at the 69 Bravo refilling base in MalibuTuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • A Super Scooper flies past the CH-47 Chinook at the 69 Bravo refilling base in MalibuTuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby talks about how the department will use the A CH-47 Chinook helicopter Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Firefighters are framed by the pilot window of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Sheriff’s Deputy Anna Carrillo gets a look inside of the new CH-47 Chinook helicopter Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby talks about how the department will use the A CH-47 Chinook helicopter Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Firefighters get a look up close at the new CH-47 Chinook helicopter Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Pilot Mel Ceccanti wears a mask to match the CH-47 Chinook helicopter he flies Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • A CH-47 Chinook drops 3,000 gallons of water over Malibu during a test flight Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • A Super Scooper flies past the CH-47 Chinook at the 69 Bravo refilling base in MalibuTuesday, November 17, 2020. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority conducted a joint training exercise with the world’s largest firefighting helicopter, able to drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. The goal, to familiarize the CH-47 Chinook’s pilots with LA County’s state of the art automated refilling base, 69 Bravo, high above Topanga Canyon, CA. The fire department will have use of the new helicopter through December. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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It’s dubbed by fire authorities as “the world’s largest helitanker.” Southern California Edison provided funding to help lease and operate the aircraft. Like other electric utilities, SCE’s equipment has been blamed for sparking some of the states’ massive wildfires, including the Woolsey fire in 2018.

Stationed in Los Alamitos, the CH-47 Chinook helitanker is available for use around the clock to respond to fires in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, fire authorities said. It has already seen action on the Silverado fire that started last month in Orange County.

During the practice session on Tuesday, the tanker filled up in an automated water station and unloaded its watery cargo onto the parched hills of Topanga.

Guests, including Orange County Fire Chief Brian Fennessy and Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby, watched as the tanker operated.

“This very large helitanker will deliver a very powerful punch and make a significant difference on the fire line,” Fennessy said previously in a statement.




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