Washoe County hopes for helitanker | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Washoe County hopes for helitanker

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune file / Washoe County leaders are requesting the U.S. Forest Service to purchase a helitanker, similar to this one used in the Fred fire, for the upcoming fire season.

INCLINE VILLAGE – With the threat of wildfire in the Lake Tahoe Basin only months away, Washoe County leaders will ask the U.S. Forest Service to purchase a helitanker capable of dropping 2,500 gallons of water at a time.

Requested by Washoe County Commissioner Jim Galloway, the request urges the Forest Service to buy the Sikorsky Skycrane, which would be based in Northern Nevada area.

“Keeping small fires small is key to avoiding catastrophic fires, especially in the Tahoe basin,” said Galloway, whose district includes the Incline Village. “The helitanker is an effective tool to reach the steep terrain of the Tahoe Basin,” he said.

The huge helicopter is able to suck 2,500 gallons of water in less than a minute from a shallow pond or stream – a water cargo that can be quickly used to douse a wildfire.

The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District also supports the acquisition of the helitanker as an effective means of fire suppression.

“The helitanker would be an awesome piece of equipment to add to our wildland firefighting equipment,” NLTFPD Chief Jim Linardos said.

In its resolution, the Commission urged Washoe County’s United States Senate and Congressional delegations to support the Forest Services’ funding request for the helitanker.

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