The U.S. Forest Service firefighting air tanker fleet has been slowly dwindling for years. Last month, Sen. John McCain, Arizona, with support from California’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Florida’s Sen. Bill Nelson introduced a bill (S 3441) to direct the Department of Defense and the United States Air Force to transfer 14 excess C-27J Spartan Aircraft to the Forest Service.
On Tuesday, Aug. 7, Riverside County supervisors Jeff Stone (3rd District) and Bob Buster (1st District) announced their support for the legislation and have placed the topic on the agenda of the next board of supervisors’ meeting, which will be Tuesday, Aug. 28.
Both supervisors believe these aircraft will enhance the Forest Service’s efforts to fight fires throughout southern California.
Independent of the federal legislation, the RAND Corporation recently released a study of the Forest Service’s air resources and recommended expanding the scooper type of craft.
More about S 3441 and the RAND study will be discussed next week.