Home Celebrity Officials say relocating firefighting aircraft during celebrity golf ‘normal’

Officials say relocating firefighting aircraft during celebrity golf ‘normal’

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Water shovels at Lake Tahoe Airport on June 23.
Courtesy of / Lisa Herron / USFS

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Firefighting planes stationed at Lake Tahoe airport were asked to temporarily find a new home to make room for the influx of private jets that brought celebrities to the U.S. Century Championships, but officials say that won’t Affects the ability to attack Basin Fires.

The two Supershovels stationed at the airport a few weeks ago packed up and moved to their base in Chico late last week.

Last summer, the Superbucket and many other aircraft were involved in the fight to suppress the Caldor fire.



“We have a very limited area for aircraft,” said interim airport manager Anush Nejad, who is also director of public works for the City of South Lake Tahoe. “We don’t have enough space for them to occupy but they are welcome to come back next week.”

The plane was parked on the tarmac at South Lake Tahoe Airport on Wednesday, July 6.
Courtesy of / Tracy Barbutes

“In coordination with the fixed base operator and the Forest Service, additional space is required to accommodate the increased aircraft parking,” the city said in a statement. “All parties have agreed to temporarily relocate the Super Scraper.”



Carrie Thaler, director of the USDA Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Watershed Management Division, said the move is normal and will not hinder the ability to fight fires in the watershed.

“It’s standard and normal and doesn’t affect our ability to fight fires,” Taylor said. “We’ve been repositioning the planes and they’re still responsive.”

Thaler mentioned that there are other aircraft in the area ready in the event of a fire.

The scraper can fly back to Tahoe from Chico in about 20 to 30 minutes, said Tom Stokesbury, a public affairs officer at the Forest Service’s Northern Operations Center.

Ahmadinejad estimates that between 60 and 100 planes typically fly in and out, except for overnight stays for the Celebrity Golf Championship. Thirty planes arrived on Tuesday and another 20 on Wednesday morning, he said.

The spoons arrived about two weeks ago to much fanfare. Parents take their children for a group photo next to the amphibious water scoop.

“They’re definitely crowd-pleasers,” Taylor said.

“A lot of people came out and took pictures with the plane,” Ahmadinejad said.

Buckets were placed on Lake Tahoe due to forecast thunderstorms.

“The ladybugs arrive in preparation for a forecast lightning event,” said LTBMU public information officer Lisa Herron. “We’re always happy when they’re here.”

The National Weather Service in Reno has a little smoke in the Tahoe forecast for the Electra Fire in Amador County, but no thunderstorms are expected for the next week or so.

Shovels are a national resource used to put out fires across the country and may or may not come back. The buckets have recently helped fight wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico, Taylor said.





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