From the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District:
CON FIRE ANNOUNCES RECEIPT OF AERIAL FIREFIGHTING GRANT FROM CALIFORNIA FIRE FOUNDATION AND PG&E $12,500 Grant to Purchase Additional Aerial Firefighting Bucket for Fire-Vulnerable Wildland-Urban Interface Areas
CONCORD, CALIF., November 13, 2018 – Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) today announced receipt of a $12,500 grant from the California Fire Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, in cooperation with PG&E, for specialized aerial firefighting equipment to aid in the suppression of wildland and other fires District-wide. The grant will be used to purchase a much-needed aerial firefighting bucket, a collapsible bucket suspended from a helicopter and used for lifting and dumping water or fire retardant chemicals in support of firefighting operations. The bucket will supplement existing equipment and extend the firefighting capabilities of the partnership between the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and Con Fire for aerial firefighting.
“We’re pleased to announce receipt of this grant, which will contribute immensely to our wildland fire-fighting abilities,” said Jeff Carman, Fire Chief, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “The additional fire bucket we’ll acquire as a result, will allow us to immediately reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires such as we have seen around the state this fire season.”
“It is a pleasure to approve this grant to provide specialized equipment in support of Contra Costa County Fire Protection District’s aerial firefighting program,” said Hedi Jalon, Executive Director, California Fire Foundation. “The Foundation is honored to support this project and we wish the district and its partners much success.”
The grant directly supports Con Fire’s efforts to quickly suppress fires in often hard-to-access and densely-populated wildland-urban interface and grassland areas before they are able to threaten homes, businesses and other property. It will be used in the 304-square-mile district, as well as in six surrounding partner agency areas where Con Fire provides aid.
The funding of this additional helicopter bucket doubles the district’s capability to extinguish fires from the air and will also provide an important backup to the existing bucket in the event of maintenance or equipment failure, ensuring aerial firefighting capabilities are always available.
Con Fire partners with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, staffing its two Bell 407 helicopters with fire personnel. The aircraft are available for daily firefighting operations throughout the county.
Helicopters are very effective in quickly getting water directly to the head of a fire, thus slowing and sometimes fully extinguishing the fire, potentially reducing the need for on-scene resources. The quicker these fires are slowed or stopped, the less damage homes and the community suffer, and the safer operations are for both firefighters and nearby community members.