Water-dropping choppers filling up at Silver Lake reservoir

Water-dropping helicopter over Silver Lake Reservoir | Sandy Driscoll

Water-dropping helicopter over Silver Lake Reservoir | Sandy Driscoll

SILVER LAKE —  Water-dropping helicopters have been tapping into the Silver Lake Reservoir this afternoon, according to residents. The helicopters were apparently helping douse a brush fire in Glendale.  “A lot of people were taking pictures at [the] Silver lake Reservoir this afternoon as an L.A. County Fire helicopter swooped down, landed above the surface and scooped up water to airlift to the Glendale fire,” said Julie Peasley . “It was pretty cool! ”

Photo by Dan Gershon

Photo by Dan Gershon

“This has been going on for hours,” said Dan Gershon. “Last trip about 100 feet over house.”


  1. Yesterday’s scene pales in comparison to the sight over Silver Lake Reservoir one hot day just a few years ago when several wasp-like water tanker choppers hovered above the water as each dipped a proboscis below the surface and pumped their tanks full, then zoomed to the Verdugo hillsides, dropped their liquid load and zipped back to Silver Lake for refill – over and over and over again. Did the Silver Lake Reservoir prevent a potential conflagration and disastrous loss of property and possibly lives that day? Did our reservoir provide crucial assistance in containing a fire yesterday, the first Sunday of Summer 2014?
    I will leave that question for those with extensive knowledge and expertise in our local firefighting resources and strategies.
    Unfortunately, the executive management of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has made NOT asking that question their priority. By extension, the Mayor of Los Angeles’ stands tacitly opposed to any attempt at asking or answering that question.
    The DWP is on schedule to remove the Silver Lake Reservoir completely and entirely as a resource for combatting fires in our city and in our neighboring cities and communitys. The DWP has declared  their plan is not open to any questioning, any reconsideration or any alternative proposals.
    The most galling aspect of the DWP’s stated position – they will not allow any formal attempt at assessment of costs, values and potential losses from fire after Silver Lake Reservoir is forced to the ground and unable to contribute as a firefighting resource.
    I would go as far as making an assumption that the DWP has not even given proactive notification to local firefighting agencies of the planned removal of Silver Lake Reservoir as a firefighting resource.
    You haven’t read about the DWP’s position on their website or in the local newspaper. But their callous and self-serving position has been clearly demonstrated.
      The DWP has engaged the residents of Silver Lake and all the citizen stakeholders of Los Angeles for over a decade in a sophisticated charade of inclusion over the Reservoir and the Channel Connector Replacement Project.
      The DWP has gone from stating the Channel Connector route would go underneath West Silver Lake Drive, then stating it would go under Rokeby Street (thus sparing West Silver Lake Drive residents from disruption), then moving the route back to West Silver Lake Drive (thus sparing disruption to residents of Rokeby Street), then finally introducing a plan to place the connector route directly underneath the reservoir site (thus sparing disruption to residents of any particular street).
    This latest plan to go beneath the Reservoir was introduced as an elegant solution whose feasibility was not previously recognized or considered. Yet this is exactly where the connector channel now lies and has been since the early 1950’s when the last upgrade project was undertaken.
    The current DWP plan calls for the entire Reservoir site to be drained. On this aspect of the plan, the DWP has spared the community any invitation to waste their time with rituals of faux inclusion.
    The DWP will suffer no further public questioning or community input regarding the plan for total drain and dry out.
    A local civic organization with impeccable credentials attempted to educate the DWP about the potential to have their dig and retain a functioning reservoir on a portion of the site. This civic group did not bring a fantasy or boondoggle to the DWP. They brought an engineering solution which had already been used and proven by another water agency – initial estimated cost 1 million.
    The DWP flatly refused to make any consideration of this proposal. And cost does not explain the intransigent DWP position, since they are ready to expend $120 million to drain and trench the Reservoir.
    Whatever carefully hidden agenda which the DWP, the Mayor and the backroom political elite have planned for Silver Lake Reservoir – if it means that Verdugo foothill communites could one hot, windy day be burned to the ground in a multi $100 million loss of property and maybe a few score human lives, as unfortunate as that may be,
    shall not hinder their plan to remove Silver Lake Reservoir from the roster of resources which could save the day.

    • Actually, the two reservoirs,(yes, there are two reservoirs) will be staggered in their draining. So, there will be water available to firefighters, migrant birds, views, etc…. At no time will both reservoirs be empty at the same time.

      One look at the fabulous work done by fire fighting air support to protect life and property should cause those who’d like to see our fabulous, iconic reservoir turned into a ridiculous swimming lake or any other outrageously lunatic idea, save their fantasies for a virtual reality. The DWP is not giving up that extremely valuable property to satisfy the fleeting desires of a chosen few.

  2. Silver Lake is “Chinatown.”

  3. Sorry about your wild fires but, we will be poolside soon doing the back stroke in Swimming Silver Lake.
    Check out Echo Park lake as an alternative.

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