Letter: get the Martin Mars flying for firefighting

Once again we are in another scorching dry fire season

Editor,

Once again we are approaching another scorching dry fire season. Not much of a letter writer but will try my best here. There are inevitably going to be some massive forest fores again threatening forests, communities, families and wildlife. As of the repeat of the last couple years, the government is not using all the tools in the shed.

I, as many, feel there should be made some awareness of the situation. Such a blatant waste of resources because of politics and false propaganda that the Martin Mars is not been given a contract to assist in fires. It is not too old, has been certified by NASA and is in far better shape than most airliners now. Less hours than a 10-year-old 737. Drops 7,000 gallons (27,000 litres) of water/thermogel covering four acres in one drop at six turns per hour, that’s 42,000 gallons (190,935 litres) per hour! Thirty seconds to fill tanks from 133 lakes in B.C. alone, plus the ocean.

Cost per hour better than all the little unreliable spitting planes and helicopters put together and the water will not evaporate before hitting fire like the piddly quantities the spitters attempt to drop. It does not harm buildings, or personnel on ground, or spread fire further when dropping payload like some propaganda out there. It has a proven record of very successful fire suppression. Updated with the most modern avionics, several new engines in crates available as well as parts as well as the fact they can manufacture their own parts.

Coulson Aviation Martin Mars is just sitting there in Port Alberni unused and uncontracted; what a sham. It would cost more in the long run not to use. Our government seems to be giving preferential treatment and contracts to Conair. I, and many, feel we should make some noise before it’s too late; Coulsons can only keep up the certifications and worthiness so long. They are already offering up our heritage for sale.

Last year Wayne Coulson, owner, stated if he was contacted and contracted he could have the plane ready in days, but no contract was to be awarded from the head in the sand bunch. Criminal! It’s a perfectly viable tool in the shed to add to the firefighting arsenal. Why not use ALL the tools in the shed?

Fire has not changed its characteristics in the last few decades and the Mars has proven effective for many decades reliably and effectively!

There are a few Facebook and support groups out there who are appalled at the lack of action from the government and/or fire service. I have personally seen the effectiveness throughout my 60-plus years on Vancouver Island. Please consider this for our future and lives.

Dave Hilton

Chemainus, B.C.

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