Climate-fuelled wildfires testing the limits of Canada’s aging water bombers

By Jordan Omstead
The Canadian Press in CBC News
December 27, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

As Canada’s water bombers age — and wildfire seasons are expected to intensify — some wildland firefighters and emergency preparedness experts say the country needs to prop up its fleet of firefighting aircraft, even as several provinces are playing down concerns about capacity. The aircraft are an easily recognizable part of Canada’s fight against wildfires, playing a key supporting role in the annual battle against the flames. They are also important in a country where wildfires can often be spread out over massive, remote stretches of land, offering a way to hold off fires until ground crews arrive. “We’re really starting to see the effects of the aging fleet,” said Eric Davidson, president of the Ontario Professional Association of Wildland Firefighters. …John Gradek, a lecturer in aviation management at McGill University, estimates almost half of the larger water bombers used to fight Canadian forest fires are nearing the end of their service life.

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