Smoke limits Super Scooper and helicopter use on Hirz Fire


Fire crews near Lakehead are battling more than just flames at the Hirz Fire.

Shawn Compton with Nor Cal Team 1 said lingering smoke has been a persistent problem, frequently limiting or preventing their use of important airborne equipment, like helicopters and Super Scoopers.

"That helicopter basically has limited visibility so it can't really go high up on the ridge like the division would like and the firefighters would like," said Compton.

He added smokey conditions lead to limited visibility for pilots, making flying and dropping water difficult.

He explained helicopters are important resources to the fire crews. Not only do they drop water on the fire but they also bring supplies to crews up in the mountains.

"Here at Hirz Bay, hopefully you'll be able to see where we're supplying the men and women fighting the fires where they're very remote right now, " said Compoton. "We gotta supply, helicopter stuff in for them so they can have enough water, gasoline, things like that so they can actually keep working."

Christopher McCandless works with the U.S. Forest Service, fixing tires for crews during fire.

He said he saw one of the Super Scoopers pick up water from the McCloud arm of Shasta Lake to drop on the fire.

"It was actually pretty awesome seeing them fly over. Especially [when] they were cutting real low above the tree tops. It's amazing; you're just sitting here and this big plane comes flying over," said McCandless.

Whether or not the Super Scoopers get up in the air, Compton said they will continue working on the fire day and night, with bull-dozers to cut fire lines, hand crews on the ground, and fire engines, to gain containment as quickly as possible.

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