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Residents want answers

Re: Residents want answers

Postby Cactusflower » Sep 10th, 2017, 9:38 pm

They may not be suitable to fight some fires, but they are suitable to fight many others. The fact that the Mars and other Wayne Coulson fire-fighting equipment was not under contract by the BC Wildfire Service when they were so desperately in need of more air power is curious, to say the least. I sent them an e-mail requesting an explanation last week, but of course I received no reply.
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Re: Residents want answers

Postby fluffy » Sep 11th, 2017, 3:49 am

Heal the sick, feed the hungry, care for the weakest among us, and always pray in private.

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Re: Residents want answers

Postby stuphoto » Sep 11th, 2017, 6:44 am

maryjane48 wrote:they dont have enough. and i was kinda shocked to see bombers just sitting around at some airports

There is probably a reason for them sitting, here are just a few examples.
- pilots getting the sleep they need to be safe out there.
- weather conditions too dangerous to fly
in
- waiting for service or a mechanical inspection.
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Re: Residents want answers

Postby Cactusflower » Sep 11th, 2017, 8:50 am


That's old news, published in early July of this year. The Mars, according to Coulson's website was repaired and ready to join the B.C. fire-fighting arsenal in August. That's why we're questioning the BC Wildfire Service's reluctance to hire the Mars (or any of the other Coulson planes).

As to the reasons why some planes appear to be grounded when the fires rage on, the fact that the pilots need their sleep isn't a good enough reason, IMHO. Is there a shortage of pilots for these planes? And if so, why?
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Re: Residents want answers

Postby Bsuds » Sep 11th, 2017, 8:53 am

Planes might be waiting for maintenance or held in reserve for when a new fire might start.
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Re: Residents want answers

Postby Carrs Landing Viking » Sep 11th, 2017, 9:11 am

That's old news, published in early July of this year. The Mars, according to Coulson's website was repaired and ready to join the B.C. fire-fighting arsenal in August. That's why we're questioning the BC Wildfire Service's reluctance to hire the Mars (or any of the other Coulson planes).

As to the reasons why some planes appear to be grounded when the fires rage on, the fact that the pilots need their sleep isn't a good enough reason, IMHO. Is there a shortage of pilots for these planes? And if so, why?[/quote]


Good to know pilots don't need to rest while fighting fires.

You obviously don't have the safety of anyone in mind.

And yes there would be a shortage of pilots for these planes.

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Re: Residents want answers

Postby seewood » Sep 11th, 2017, 9:14 am

The way I understand the use of aerial tankers is they are very beneficial at the onset of a fire. Their primary use is to try and contain the growing fire when possible. They DO NOT put the fire out. If the current fires are more or less contained then spending money for redundancy is a waste of money. If the wind is howling like we have seen in news clips, again the retardant drops don't work very well as there is so much spotting ahead of the fire line, it is a waste of resources to try and make a containment line. Not to mention the head of the fire is covered in smoke plumes. perhaps the flanks can be actioned at times if conditions permit. Fire bosses make that call, not us.
The tankers were grounded in Penticton for actioning local fires because of visibility, really scary me thinks to go IFR for retardant drops....
Helicopters fly much slower, are more maneuverable and can stop and turn around if visibility starts to really crap out. If the VHF antenna starts to bend, time to stop....
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Re: Residents want answers

Postby Cactusflower » Sep 11th, 2017, 9:33 am

Thanks for that informative comment, seewood. However, many fires were started after the Mars was supposedly back in service, so I still wonder why it wasn't deployed at those fires. At the very least, the public needs answers to these questions that have been asked of the BC Wildfire Service since Coulson's report on the Mars' update, not to mention the other aircraft that he has available to fight B.C. fires.
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Re: Residents want answers

Postby seewood » Sep 11th, 2017, 10:38 am

My initial opinion as to why the Mars was not used, even if ready to go: Logistics and costs per liter dropped.
Logistics in the ministry finding av gas, not jet A like every other aircraft flying, helicopter and stiff wing, and finding a place to fuel an amphibious aircraft that size. (Spill booms required)
Coulson will charge the ministry ferry rates to fly back and forth to the Island if that was the only re-fueling location that works for that aircraft. $$$$ we all would agree.

There are an endless supply of bean counters in every ministry, including Forests that have and continually do cost benefit analysis on aircraft, their capabilities and cost per hour dry and wet ( with fuel). There is a very capable helicopter I understand in Naramata, however it is new, modern and very expensive. The cost per liter dropped is just not financially viable with our tax dollars. Other than new and modern, much like the Mars.
I'm thinking the ministry has decided the cost benefit for using the Mars is just not there with the aircraft we have today. It is TAX dollars we are talking about( BC libs being accountable.. sometimes) and the fires today would not have a different outcome if they used numerous skimmers or one Mars.
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Re: Residents want answers

Postby Cactusflower » Sep 11th, 2017, 12:17 pm

Yes, I suppose you're right, but before we go through another horrendous fire season like this one, perhaps the government should let the taxpayers decide whether they want to spend more of their hard-earned money to save their homes, livestock, wildlife, marketable wood, etc. (not to mention the additional cost of healthcare for smoke-related diseases), or whether they would like to save money and watch their province burn.

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Re: Residents want answers

Postby seewood » Sep 11th, 2017, 12:49 pm

Bit dramatic don't you think?

I'm sure you are aware that fires are burning all over North America. Other than a few jurisdictions all fire fighting aircraft are owned by companies that specialize in aircraft. Experts in another words. Sorry I just don't believe government that should govern should get mixed up with aircraft that are seasonal so any thought of BC government purchasing aircraft should be a non starter. I know it has not been mentioned here but thought I'd put it out there anyway.
Now, contractors will purchase and supply their aircraft as required during fire season. Purchasing a legacy aircraft is the cheap part. Getting the STC ( supplementary type certificate) is a long drawn out process with the government finally giving approval for the, say belly tank mods. Ok making, installing and maintaining the mod is expensive and time consuming.
I can just imagine Coulson dealing with the issue on the 737's they purchased.... Can't imagine the insurance rates when you fly a legacy aircraft loaded with retardant low level into and out of smoky atmosphere.
So a company that invests millions in tankers is one thing but then in BC we have a relatively short season. These companies hope to find other work during our shoulder fire season. Kinda sucks you hope some other jurisdiction is burning so bad you are required but it is what it is.
How many tankers should a company have and then find them sitting around in a wet summer? Lots of aircraft and crew to finance. Bigger companies like Conair I believe have spread the risk around and have aircraft in various jurisdictions around the world, Air Spray is invested in the States as well as in Canada.
Really expecting a private company to have umpteen aircraft at ones beck-and call just in case of a fire season like this is in my opinion a bit of a stretch.
I know helicopter companies that have taken the blades and rotor mast off, put them in a container and sent them to Australia or Europe without a contract to try and get some more hours on the aircraft. A crap shoot...

As for having taxpayers decide on expenditures.. at the moment the fire fighting budget is kind of bottom less. They put a number down at the beginning of the year and will exceed it likely close to 10 times over buy the time the smoke stops this year. Question to ask the experts, again not us, if knowing what they did at the time, would the fire bosses do anything different? maybe some would but maybe some would not. No different than the fellow that controls the dam in Penticton. He has mentioned several times absolutely nothing would have changed in dam outflow if he was presented the same information at the same time.
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Re: Residents want answers

Postby alfred2 » Sep 11th, 2017, 1:11 pm

Cactusflower wrote:Thanks for that informative comment, seewood. However, many fires were started after the Mars was supposedly back in service, so I still wonder why it wasn't deployed at those fires. At the very least, the public needs answers to these questions that have been asked of the BC Wildfire Service since Coulson's report on the Mars' update, not to mention the other aircraft that he has available to fight B.C. fires.

Why do you not ask horgan that? :smt045
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Re: Residents want answers

Postby maryjane48 » Sep 11th, 2017, 8:57 pm

why ask horgan when the bclibs had 16 years to set up proper forestry managment practices. at this point horgan could literly not do anything but plant a tree and do a better job :smt045
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Re: Residents want answers

Postby maryjane48 » Sep 12th, 2017, 5:51 pm

ndp has now hired the one firm and i be willng to guess wayne coulson will be giving con air a lesson in air tanker support next year . [icon_lol2.gif]
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Re: Residents want answers

Postby Btfsplck » Sep 13th, 2017, 10:53 am

It amuses me how some here think they know what they're talking about when it comes to wild fire fighting, when all they actually know is bias' based on their political leanings.

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