Laguna Beach gears up with a water tank for filling helicopters to prepare for wildfires

A huge mobile storage tank that can hold countless gallons of water will be offered to aid attack the following wildfire in Laguna Beach.

The HeloPod mobile storage tank will be released throughout the fire season, normally from July to November, along the fire road that covers the canyons from Arc Coastline Levels to Top of the World. The road gives firefighters accessibility to a few of Laguna Coastline’s most remote locations ignoring the Pacific Ocean as well as Aliso and also Wood Canyon Wilderness Park.

The custom-fabricated storage tank, which holds in between 5,000 gallons and 7,000 gallons, will certainly assist firefighters lower turn-around times for water drops in remote locations, while additionally lowering the manpower it requires to fill up the firefighting helicopters, authorities stated.

With its uneven terrain as well as greenery, much of Laguna Coastline and the wildland areas bordering it are considered a high threat for fires. In 1993, a fire driven by Santa Ana winds torched even more than 14,000 acres, brought about the emptying of 23,000 individuals as well as ruined 441 homes in just eventually.

The council picked the mobile storage tank, which can be moved by a trailer, over a long-term, in-ground container.

“I would opt for the mobile,” Laguna Beach Fire Chief Mike Garcia informed the council when asked. “I can have it here in two or three weeks. The ground system will take longer for permitting and also building and construction.”

In addition to offering a quicker installment, the mobile storage tank is less costly. The council did review having it mix right into the surrounding atmosphere, so the container will certainly be custom-painted in planet tones.

At Councilwoman Sue Kempf’s advising, a strategy was made for fire authorities to check an area for a second tank that will be located closer to South Laguna. That storage tank can additionally be released as common help to other cities.

The first container as well as trailer will certainly set you back the city $54,000 each; financing will come from $150,000 the Common council established aside in September from hotel bed taxes citizens approved to money public security.

“It’s a force-multiplier,” Garcia stated. “We are able to assault the fire much quicker with water drops.”

In 2019, the Common council approved an hostile Wildfire Mitigation and also Fire Security program to far better prepare the city for preventing and battling wildfires. Currently the city is making use of goats and also hand staffs to strike disordered plant life and a robust public notice system is up and running. Plans are moving onward to hide much of the utility poles along a few of the town’s evacuation routes.

The helicopter water-refilling tank was also recognized as vital for wildfire defense.

“Strong air support is among the most vital devices when dealing with wildfires,” Mayor Bob Whalen said. “I applaud our Fire Principal Mike Garcia for discovering a cost-efficient method to obtain this in area soon to shield the city.”

Bill Ward, co-owner of PumpPod, of Simi Valley, which is supplying the tank, stated he and also his companion had the storage tanks on the drawing board as very early as 2015, yet demand for the systems didn’t capture on until fire divisions in Southern California began getting Fire Hawks, transformed military Black Hawks that can fly at 218 mph and have 1,200-gallon tanks, as well as the also bigger Coulson CH-47 Chinook, which can go down 3,000 gallons.

Normally, the Orange County Fire Authority, which would certainly react in Laguna Beach, flies aircraft that can hold 350 gallons to 375 gallons of water. Utilizing their snorkels, the helicopters could draw a complete tons of water from the tank in concerning a minute.

“If there is not stored water such as these containers, the helicopter would certainly have to land, and a fire crew would certainly link a tube to replenish it,” Garcia said. “When they are chock-full, they would power up and take off for the decline, which cycle would proceed for the duration of the fire. That takes a lot more time as well as personnel.”

In 2019, Yorba Linda was the first city in the state to install a helicopter filling up storage tank, which is a long-term structure in capitals where the 2008 Freeway Complex Fire blistered countless acres as well as thousands of homes. Laguna Beach is the initial in the region to release a mobile storage tank.

Ward said several other Southern The golden state cities have actually contacted the business concerning acquiring tanks, however the proposals have actually not yet gone before their city board.

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