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Cal. Fires-Why Weren't Air Tankers Called until after 3 days

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  • Cal. Fires-Why Weren't Air Tankers Called until after 3 days

    I am sure many of you have been following the California fires. Not only have several of them been found to be arson, but the air tankers needed to help fight them were not called in until after 3 days and 16 people had died. Why the wait? I cannot help but wonder if the air tankers, such as C130s, DC6s and 7s, P3 Orions, etc could have made a difference had these and other aircraft been launched sooner. The P3A and B Orions are former Navy antisub patrol planes based on the turboprop L188 Electra airliner, while the DC6s and 7s are classic propeller airliners that went out of airline service by 1970. At least one or two Electras are also used as air tankers. If these aircraft had been arranged in WWII type bomber streams for each fire, they might have been able to get them at least partially contained enough for ground personnel to make better headway than they have been able to make. Every available military C130 should be called into the mix as well, to the extent the four services using this aircraft can spare them. The Air Force, Air National Guard, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines, all fly C130s and the more planes that can be added to the tanker/bomber force the better. Granted, those in charge are doing the best they can with what they can get their hands on, but, why wait 3 days like seems to have been the case before calling in air tankers? Those three days gave the fires ample opportunity to get away from the firefighers, of whom one has died as a result, along with at least 19 other people. That is 20 people too many as far as I am concerned. If there are rules about this, then they need to be changed. If a fire chief thinks aircraft are needed for fighting fires at a given time, he should be able to get them when he needs them without waiting 3 days. For 20 people, that's 3 days too late.

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