Cal Fire San Luis Obispo County has installed a 5,500-gallon helicopter dip tank west of Atascadero in the Summit Hills area.
The bright red tank will be available to firefighting helicopters to refill their buckets, said Cal Fire Chief Rob Lewin. It is strategically located in an area with a history of fire activity but without many water sources suitable for firefighting helicopters.
“We can continually keep it filled, and it gives us a shorter turnaround time,” Lewin said. “We are really happy to have this tank because it is a significant tool for us to have for helicopter use.”
During fires, the tank will be refilled by a fire engine using a nearby hydrant. The tank was purchased using a $9,700 grant from the San Luis Obispo County Fire Safe Council.
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The tank is located just outside Atascadero city limits on private property. The landowners have graciously agreed to host the tank without charging rent or other costs, Lewin said.