Is Canada’s fleet of water bombers fit for climate-change fuelled wildfires?

By Jordan Omstead
The Canadian Press in the National Post
December 22, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

TORONTO — …as focus shifts to next season, some have questioned whether Canada has the fleet of aerial water bombers it needs to keep up with longer, more intense wildfire seasons fuelled by climate change. …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. …Each province is responsible for its own wildland firefighting, creating a patchwork of approaches. Ontario and Quebec have their own fleets, for example, while British Columbia contracts out aircraft. …British Columbia’s Ministry of Forest said it’s been renewing its fleet of 19 long-term contracted air tankers since 2020. Ontario said the province has 20 fixed-wing aircraft to fight wildfires, including nine large water bombers that are 24 years old on average. The other 11 smaller aircraft are an average of 53 and 55 years old.

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