CAL FIRE Acquiring Military Transport Planes To Help Combat Wildfires

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By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

CAL FIRE will soon have within its fleet of airborne fire fighting aircraft one of the largest military transport planes in the world, as seven C-130’s will be re-fitted to allow for massive amounts of fire retardant dropped on wildfires.

The ability for CAL FIRE to fight a record number of large wildfires simultaneously is challenging, at best. State Senator Mark McGuire said California recognizes the need for more personnel and more equipment.

“Despite the deep recession that this state is in due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus, the state has increased the budget of CAL FIRE by an additional $85 million,” he said.

But the use of fire fighting aircraft has increasingly become integral to combat wildfires, so the state has cut a deal with the U.S. Coast Guard to purchase seven gigantic C-130 transport aircraft.

C-130 planes are one of the largest cargo planes flying in the United States military at this point. 

“We’re going to redesign these planes, outfit it with a large bladder inside, and they’ll become large air attack planes,” McGuire said.

The C-130’s will go online over the next few years.