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CAL FIRE Closely Monitoring Water Levels

CAL FIRE

CAL FIRE Firefighters practice filling an inflatable pool used for firefighting in rural areas.

CAL FIRE

During wildfire season CAL FIRE helicopters often scoop water from nearby reservoirs and lakes. But the ongoing drought means some water levels are too low to use. The agency’s Daniel Berlant says helicopters need about five to six feet of standing water.    

"But if a water source is not readily available, another thing that we have is we can create somewhat like inflatable swimming pools," he says. "Reservoirs that we create and truck in water from another area put it in to the more-or-less inflated swimming pool and then our helicopters or even our fire engines can tap into it."

Berlant says the pools are typically used in rural areas and can hold several thousand gallons of water.

CAL FIRE has staffed up for fire season earlier than usual. The agency has also received money for fire prevention education. Berlant says people are responsible for 95 percent of the wildfires CAL FIRE responds to.