In recent months months, SkyMaverick, our firefighting Aircrane, has been called on numerous times by CAL FIRE to help with dousing wildfires to prevent them from growing into major threats to lives and homes.
Year to date, SkyMaverick has made 72 water drops, totaling more than 86,000 gallons to assist with firefighting efforts. It was called on last night by CAL FIRE to fight a vegetation fire that broke out around 6 p.m. near Dehesa Road and Sloane Canyon Road in East San Diego County. The fire threatened three nearby homes, which were put under voluntary evacuation order, and an elementary school, according an NBC 7 story.
The fire started at two acres on a hillside, quickly grew to 50 acres and then eventually reached 150 acres. According to a status update provided by CAL Fire this morning, the fire was 50 percent contained and was being mopped up.
Fighting Fires in Collaboration with Public Safety Agencies
A few weeks ago, on July 12, SkyMaverick also joined the fight against a wildfire that erupted on Marron Valley Road near Cottonwood Creek and Barrett Truck Trail along the U.S.-Mexico border. “The Cottonwood Fire,” also known as the “Border Fire,” burned 550 acres on the Mexico side and 100 acres on the U.S. side, according to NBC 7.
The largest firefighting helitanker of its kind in America, SkyMaverick can carry 2,650 gallons – equivalent to five 500-gallon fire engines. It is stationed at Gillespie Field in El Cajon for dispatch by CAL FIRE whenever needed to fight fire throughout the region.
This is the 10th year SDG&E has contracted for the Aircrane to be stationed in our region to protect local communities. Since 2018, the Aircrane has been stationed in this region year-round. Previously, it was stationed here for four months of the year – August through November. With climate change fueling wildfires year-round in California, it has become increasingly critical for fire agencies to have robust initial aerial attack capabilities to snuff out fires before they get out of control.
Follow SkyMaverick’s at @SkyMaverickSDGE on Twitter. If you happen to see him out and about, please snap photos, share on social media and tag him.