Skycrane arrives for peak fire season

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — For the seventh straight year, SDG&E is adding a huge edition to the region’s summer and fall firefighting arsenal.

By huge, we mean the size and, more importantly, the water or fire retardant capacity of the Skycrane Helicopter.

It is huge and it looks even bigger when it’s sitting in a hanger, in this case, Gillespie Field.

More than two stories tall and 88 feet long from nose to tail, the Skycrane played a large role in the building of SDG&E’s sunrise power line in the back country.

Related Link: Crews battle two separate brush fires in Escondido

When it’s outfitted for firefighting, it’s also called a Helitanker.

And the tanker part makes it really impressive.

The city and county’s 4 helos have a water dropping capacity of 375 gallons each, max. They can drop more than five times that amount and 2,650 gallons of water or fire retardant.

And it can be airborne in 15 minutes.

SDG&E pays for the four-month, $1.75 million contact with a firm out of Portland, Oregon and splits the airtime cost with the county. SDG&E unveiled the massive helo Monday morning, but it’s already been at work. It got to San Diego early this year and was used in the Feather Fire in the Barona area and the Rock House Fire in the Ramona area.

It should also be noted that the Skycrane’s arrival for peak fire season has been extended by SDG&E and the county through 2022.

Categories: Local San Diego News