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The wildfires that have ravaged California have already consumed 4m acres. The unprecedented figure is more than double the previous record for the most land burned in a single year in California, according to theguardian.com.
Considered the largest helicopter water tanker in the world, the CH-47 Chinook helitanker is now on hand to assist fire crews battling Southern California’s many blazes.
The next-generation helitanker recently unveiled by Orange County fire officials has a 3,000-gallon capacity which far exceeds that of the county’s standard helitankers, which typically drop about 350 gallons.
The Chinook is a multi-mission, heavy-lift transport helicopter. Its primary mission is to move troops, artillery, ammunition, fuel, water, barrier materials, supplies and equipment on the battlefield. Its secondary missions include medical evacuation, disaster relief, search and rescue, aircraft recovery, fire fighting, parachute drops, heavy construction and civil development. The CH-47s provide the ability to carry heavy loads and operate with a large water bucket for wildland fire suppression.
The twin-propeller, twin-engine tanker is also night-vision certified, and can drop water or retardant both day and night.
The tanker will be based out of Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base in Orange County, according to nny360.com.