USFS to add uncertified military planes to firefighting fleet

Posted: May 15, 2013

Written by

Rob Chaney, The Missoulian
Neptune Aviation BAe-146 air tanker

The U.S. Forest Service won’t cut any funds from its retardant-bombing fleet this fire season, but it will enter the fray with a lot of planes that aren’t certified to fight wildfires.

On Monday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the agency will look to the U.S. military to supplement its firefighting aircraft this year because six of the seven next-generation airplanes announced last week may not be ready for action.

However, Tom Harbour, the Forest Service’s national director of fire aviation management, later said the military surplus planes also aren’t ready to fight fire.

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