LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles County supervisors are considering whether to buy or continue leasing specially designed amphibious firefighting aircraft from Canada as the ongoing drought, in its fifth year, extends the fire season.
For the past 20 years, the county has been leasing two Superscoopers for prime fire season, which traditionally is from September through November.
“Fire seasons were different in the 90’s and early 2000. Today, the fire season is basically 52 weeks out of the year,” Supervisor Michael Antonovich said Tuesday.
It costs $37 million to buy a Bombardier 415 water bomber and $24,000 a day to lease one for only part of the year.
“Personally, I would like to have all the aircraft necessary to put out fires in place 52 weeks out of the year,” said Antonovich, who recommended exploring options for having at least one of the leased water bomber available year-round.