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SDG&E will share firefighting chopper with local agencies

A helicopter capable of dropping 2,650 gallons of water will be leased by San Diego Gas & Electric through the end of November to help county firefighting agencies battle wildfires, officials said Thursday.

Any firefighting agency in county will be able to request the support of the S64E Helitanker, nicknamed “The Incredible Hulk,” through the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department for attacks on wildfires, according to SDG&E.

SDG&E is making the helicopter available to all fire agencies in the county free of charge for the first two hours of every fire it’s called out on, according to NBC 7/39.

The impact of these helicopters, the drops they make on our fires, they absolutely have the ability to keep our fires small,” SDFRD Deputy Chief Brian Fennessy said at a demonstration at the Lower Otay Reservoir.

The helicopter, which was leased through and will be operated by Erickson Air-Crane, is equipped with a flexible hose “snorkel’’ capable of filling with fresh or sea water in less than 45 seconds, according to SDG&E.

It will also be used by SDG&E to install power poles and for construction projects.