BEAUREGARD PARISH, La. (KLFY) — Among the weapons used to fight the wildfires in southwestern Louisiana is the Super Scooper.
It’s an aircraft that scoops up water from nearby lakes and rivers to dump on large fires. They have been deployed to fight the ongoing wildfires in Beauregard Parish and elsewhere in Louisiana.
The scoopers are purpose-built aerial firefighting aircraft, holding up to 1,600 gallons of water for operations of up to four hours. According to the US Forest Service, it takes 12 seconds to fill one scooper to capacity, scooping in flight as it skims the water’s surface. The bottom of the plane is shaped like a boat to be able to land on the surface and scoop the water with only the momentum of the plane dragging across the water.
The aircraft can scoop from sources that are only 6.5 feet deep and 300 feet wide. It can also scoop around river bends and navigate visible obstacles in the water. Scoopers are capable of dropping water on wildfires from a height of about 100 to 150 feet above ground level.