Test with Chinook Helps Upgrade California Helicopter Fill Site

Malibu site can now hold more water


(69 BRAVO Helistop)


MALIBU, Calif. (AP) — A water fill-up station in the mountains above Malibu is increasing capacity to handle larger firefighting helicopters that are being contracted to bolster Southern California fleets.

The upgrade of the site called 69 Bravo follows a November test of a big CH-47 Chinook, a type of helitanker that can carry 3,000 gallons (11,356 liters) of water, significantly more than common types of water-dropping helicopters.

The site in the Santa Monica Mountains has four self-replenishing 6,000-gallon (22,712-liter) rubber-vinyl water containers, known as “pumpkins,” that are being replaced with 8,000-gallon (30,282-liter) metal containers, the city of Malibu said in a press release.

“With the threat of the next big wildfire always looming over us in Malibu, it is heartening to see the impressive capabilities of Bravo 69 and the Chinook helitankers in place, close by and ready to respond to fires in our community,” said Mayor Paul Grisanti.

The twin-rotor CH-47 helitankers are adapted from heavy-lift helicopters developed for the U.S. Army.

Malibu’s most recent inferno was the November 2018 Woolsey Fire, which destroyed more than 1,600 structures, killed three people and forced thousands to flee as it raged through Ventura and Los Angeles counties to the sea.

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