1. #1
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    Wink Residents crusade for Super Scoopers

    A crusade that deserves recognition by the firefighting community. Hmmmm, now if only I could get some of my wealthy friends to donate a few bucks...... These residents are to be commended for getting involved, both politically and financially!
    ----------------------------------------------------
    MALIBU, Calif. (AP) - In the canyons of Malibu and Topanga,
    where a tree-shrouded retreat just inland from the jagged lips of
    the Pacific Ocean starts around $500,000 and spikes up from there,
    fire is a fact of life.
    Up here, arson watch volunteers patrol for signs of smoke.
    Deputies enforce brush removal requirements around houses. And
    people spend the dry months between June and December watching
    nervously for fire trucks.
    Topanga resident Tony Morris isn't content to watch and worry.
    He's launched what may be a Quixotic crusade to talk his wealthy
    neighbors into spending $50 million for two state-of-the-art water
    dumping bombers known as Super Scoopers.
    A documentary filmmaker and journalist, Morris fled the 1993
    Topanga/Malibu wildfire with his family, a few documents and his
    son's bunny. He spent two days thinking his was one of the 350
    houses destroyed by that blaze, which also killed three people.
    His house survived, but Morris was reborn as a fervent believer
    in the fixed-wing CL 415s used extensively in Canada and Southern
    Europe to douse wildfires but are rare in the United States.
    His evangelism has won him some local disciples, but so far he
    hasn't converted Los Angeles County fire officials or cash-strapped
    county supervisors. So Morris is going where the money is - to the
    millionaires and billionaires who call these canyons home.
    "The houses in the path of fire out here are owned by the
    wealthiest people in the world," Morris said. "We think these
    people will open their pocketbooks."
    According to Forbes Magazine, the Topanga/Malibu area is the
    11th wealthiest community in the United States. The median price
    for a house in Topanga Canyon is $635,000, said Karen Dannenbaum,
    who manages a local real estate office. In Malibu, a tiny
    fixer-upper is $500,000 and from there, she says, "the sky's the
    limit."
    Two major fires in Malibu and Topanga in the 1990s destroyed
    hundreds of homes, and led to devastating mudslides. The canyon
    brush is born to burn, Morris said, but with thousands of
    high-priced houses and thousands more people living in the rugged
    canyons, nature can no longer be allowed to take its course.
    That's where the Super Scoopers come in, Morris said.
    He and other locals spent $7,000 last year making a documentary
    heralding the planes as a fire-season savior. He is in the process
    of launching a nonprofit corporation, Aerial Fire Protection
    Association, and hopes to start picking up checks in several
    months.
    That won't be in time to beat the current fire season, when
    fears are especially high in those canyons because one of the
    driest winters on record has created volatile conditions there and
    elsewhere in the state.
    Still, Morris is taking his message and his documentary to civic
    groups and business gatherings and even plans to knock on the doors
    of the rich and famous.
    "I'm not afraid to ask anybody for this money," he said.
    County fire officials already lease two Super Scoopers during
    the peak fire months between September and December, when Santa Ana
    winds often whip through tinderbox canyons throughout Southern
    California.
    Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman said that's all his budget will
    bear.
    "We feel leasing the Super Scoopers is by and large the best
    way to balance our budget with the high risk we face," Freeman
    said during a recent radio debate with Morris.
    Firefighters favor more mobile helicopters that not only dump
    water and foam but can handle rescue work and function as flying
    ambulances when not fighting fires. Fixed-wing aircraft, mostly
    World War II vintage tankers, are used to dump fire retardant.
    The modern Super Scoopers suck water from the ocean, lakes or
    large reservoirs and can get to a fire quickly, with 1,600 gallons
    of water.
    When county fire officials praise the scoopers, the next
    sentence usually begins with "But..."
    "Those Super Scoopers are great to have during the months we
    need them," said county fire Capt. Brian Jordan. "But they only
    fly and dump water."
    Morris and his supporters disagree.
    "In light of how much more they can do in fighting a fire, I
    don't understand the rationale behind having them three months a
    year," said Bill Gaerbakke, a canyon resident and actor who
    appeared in the television series "Coach."
    Actor Thad Geer, a 45-year canyon resident who is also a
    volunteer firefighter, has heard the arguments from firefighters
    that helicopters are better. He's not so sure.
    "My personal opinion, the more water you can get on a fire the
    better," Geer said. "From what I've seen (Super Scoopers) seem to
    be very effective and it gives the residents a lot more hope."
    Morris is trying to keep a civil relationship with fire
    officials. If his group can buy the planes, they would be under the
    control of county firefighters, he said.
    "The county can't afford to buy it, so we want to help," he
    said. "We want to present this as a preventive device. It's
    prevention, it's not a panacea."

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  2. #2
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    Tony Morris' crusade is a noble one, but I am afraid that he is on "quixotic" mission tilting at the windmills of the rich and famous.

    They would rather donate their time and money to their own pet projects, trying to save the world everywhere else but in their own backyards.

    An example....
    Last year, during the wildfires in New Mexico, a small volunteer fiore department extinguished a large grass fire and saved the ranch of media mogul Ted Turner.

    Turner, who is a multibillionaire, was so gracious he wrote themn a check...for $500
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 07-05-2002 at 09:05 AM.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  3. #3
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    Talking $500.00

    And that was 1/10th of Jane's lunch money for the day!

    We discussed the sad state of the US aerial firefighting planes on another thread. It is amazing that we do not have modern, state of the art slurry bombers or numerous CL-415 Super Scoopers included in our aging fleets.

    Cap....care to make a donation for a few?
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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