Airplane Scoops Water From Arkansas River To Fight Wildfires

Thursday, February 18th 2016, 6:17 pm
By: News On 6

Oklahoma Forestry Services sent an aerial tanker to fight a wildfire near Cleveland Thursday afternoon.

The Bombardier CL 415 "Super Scooper" is an aircraft designed from the ground up to be a firefighting plane. It can scoop up more than 1,600 gallons from any handy water source and then immediately dump it on a fire.

On Thursday Brandi Hickman recorded video of the forestry services' number 260 tanker as it scooped water from the Arkansas River at Feyodi Park in Cleveland.

It's based in Ardmore, but the forestry service stages it wherever it's needed. Earlier in the day it worked a fire near Tonkawa.

Tim Elder is coordinating the aerial tankers for the Oklahoma and U.S. Forestry Services. He says the airplane's number one advantage is that it can put a large amount of water on a fire very quickly. It can scoop water without having to return to base to be reloaded and if the water source is particularly close to a fire, the short turnaround means it can put thousands of gallons on it in a matter of minutes.

The Super Scooper carries enough fuel to stay airborne for about three hours.

To fit the aircraft's requirements, a body of water must be at least one mile long, 300 feet wide and six feet deep. Elder said bodies of waters that fit the requirements are common in Oklahoma.