- Category: Latest News
- Created on Saturday, 12 October 2013 11:30
San Diego, California - The County is working to strengthen local aerial firefighting capabilities by enlisting some excess military aircraft.
County Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to request that the U.S. Department of Defense transfer several airplanes being phased out of service in Afghanistan to the U.S. Forest Service for use in high-risk wildfire areas such as San Diego County.
County Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox and Supervisor Dianne Jacob jointly proposed the item, which directs Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer to draft a letter urging that the DOD transfer excess C-27 aircraft to the Forest Service for use in San Diego County and elsewhere.
“With this action today, we are certainly going to be adding a very powerful new resource to our region’s growing arsenal against wildfires,” Cox said.
The move followed a recent trip Cox made to Washington, DC as part of a delegation from San Diego. Cox said he had learned during a meeting with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), about an opportunity to potentially draft the extra aerial firefighting resources into service locally.
Jacob said she learned that it may take 12 to 18 months before the planes could be ready to start dropping retardant and water. She was told they could be used as transport planes within a few months.
“But this is the first step to at least get them transferred out here,” she said.
Cox acknowledged firefighting season is year-round but said he hoped that the estimated timeline could be cut down.
“I’m hopeful that maybe we can speed up that 18 months to be something less than a year in order to put them in service in a timely manner,” he said.