Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Limits to Super Scooper's Powers

San Diego County's new super scooper firefighting planes have shown their muscle during the last two weeks. However, fire officials say the aircraft have limitations. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has th

San Diego County's new super scooper firefighting planes have shown their muscle during the last two weeks. However, fire officials say the aircraft have limitations. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

San Diego County leased two planes called super scoopers this fire season for three million dollars.

The planes can scoop up 16-hundred gallons of water with one dip in the ocean or another body of water.

They can do it without landing.

Ron Serabia coordinates aircraft for Cal Fire. He says the super scoopers performed beautifully at Camp Pendelton. The wind was calm. The ocean was flat.

Ron Serabia: But, you take the same airplanes and you put us out, say, in the East County, and you have the turbulent conditions and the whitecaps on the lakes. It was enough you wouldn't be out there in a fishing boat.

Cal Fire's Serabia says his agency's firefighting planes don't fly in winds over 35 miles per hour.

He says that's limiting, especially during Santa Anas.

Serabia says two more Cal Fire tankers should arrive in San Diego today.

Amy Isackson, KPBS news.