Air attack: Cal Fire eyes new sources of water

By Mike Morris / The Union Democrat

Cal Fire's Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit is working to secure backup water sources should it need them to help fight wildfires this summer.

The unit's Columbia Air Attack Base receives its water from the Tuolumne Utilities District, which is working on contingency plans to continue supplying the base during fire season.

As a "precautionary measure," Cal Fire is also approaching the City of Angels Camp and Utica Water and Power Authority for possible water purchases, said Unit Chief Josh White.

"We're working on a number of contingencies," he said.

A clean water supply is necessary to create the fire retardant used in suppression efforts.

The Columbia Air Attack Base operates two S-2 Air Tankers, which carry the retardant.

"This retardant is vital to the air operations conducted on wildland fires in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties as well as neighboring counties," White wrote in a letter to Dave Myers, Angels Camp city engineer.

For the complete story, see the June 3, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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