WPR News
1:22 pm
Wed June 2, 2004

More Firefighting Aircraft on the Way

Boise, ID – Federal firefighting agencies announced Wednesday that they will acquire over a hundred additional aircraft to battle wildfires this summer. Last month, 33 large air tankers were grounded because safety concerns. This move is to make up for the loss of those aircraft. National Interagency Fire Center Spokeswoman Venetia Gempler says the $66 Million to pay for the new aircraft will come out of the existing firefighting budget. Gempler says the plan is to acquire 38 smaller air tankers and 71 helicopters. Also available will be eight military C-130's that are equipped for firefighting. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth says these aircraft will help maintain their record of putting out nearly 99% of fires on initial attack.