Water from Canyon Lake Helps Ground Crews Extinguish Wildfires

A helicopter uses water from Canyon Lake to help extinguish the Plum Hopper Fire in Caldwell County on Aug. 9.

Texas A&M Forest Serviced is using water from Canyon Lake to put out wildfires.

Program Specialist Erin O’Connor said aircraft have responded to multiple fires this year, assisting ground crews with water and retardant drops to slow the forward progression of fires.

Water from the lake was used to fight the 365-acre Oak Grove Fire in Hays County, the 206-acre Plum Hopper Fire in Caldwell County, the 332-acre Staples Fire in Guadalupe County and the 228-acre Boggy Creek Fire in Caldwell County.

“We strategically place aircraft at airports in impacted regions across the state to reduce flight time,” she said. “Further, the sites that the amphibious aircraft dip/scoop from are located near the fire to reduce the time it takes between dropping water on the fire and refilling their tanks.”

The Air Tractor Fire Boss carries up to 800 gallons of water and the multi-engine airtanker (Super Scooper) Canadair CL-215T can transport up to 1,600 gallons of water.

The forest service also uses “the largest and fastest” Type 1 helicopters, which carry a minimum of 700 gallons of water at a time.

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