While Fires Rage in Colorada, a Tanker Sits Unused Because of Federal Regulations?
The most destructive wildfire recording in Colorado’s history are still about 10 days away from being contained and they may not be fully extinguished until the end of July. However one company, Evergreen International Aviation, has had Boeing 747 Supertanker Very Large Air Tanker at the ready the entire time… in fact it’s been under contract to have it ready but they were never called to help even though it has 20,000 gallons of water to dump on wildfires.
I wish I was making this up but here’s their recent letter about what’s been going on (Original):
We at Evergreen are saddened by the fire devastation now taking place in many Western US states. For over 60 years, we have supported the US Forest Service in its important mission to battle and control fires, and it is our desire to continue this rich history of service. While our helicopters continue to work fires for the State of Alaska under State contracts, unfortunately, our Boeing 747 Supertanker Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) aircraft awaits activation with the US Forest Service.
The company hasn’t been told why their 20,000 gallon plane sits on the runway not being used despite the fact that fires are raging:
- The US Forest Service’s specification for Next Generation Air Tanker aircraft limits tank size to 5,000 gallons. The supertanker’s tanks hold about 20,000 gallons, which is considered outside the USFS specification.
- Today, only small businesses are eligible for contract awards concerning air tanker assets; Evergreen is not a small business and, therefore, is excluded from consideration for any award.
Could it be that Government red tape is putting lives at risk?
What about Save the Fish not the Firefighters?
The Evergreen letter:
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