|Neptune Aviation Services Tanker 10|
“I'm feeling cautiously confident about our capabilities nationally, and confident about our assets there locally” for the San Bernardino Mountains, Tom Harbour, director of Fire Aviation Management for the Forest Service, told this newspaper.
Harbour was responding to recent questions about the Forest Service's dwindling number of firefighting air tankers, and their age.
“We do have 10 of the (Lockheed) P2 Neptune aircraft, which are bigger than the (Lockheed) S2s that Cal Fire runs,” Harbour said, “that are in excellent condition and that are ready to go."
|Neptune Aviation Services, BAe 146 Tanker 40|
- Tanker 40 Neptune's BAe 146 is called Tanker 40, and mountain residents may see it flying over the San Bernardino Mountains. “We expect it may be in the area (this summer),” he said. The Forest Service believes the BAe 146 may start entering its air tanker fleet in the near future. “We're going to start that transition over the next few months,” Harbour said. “The BAe 146 is the kind of platform (we're looking for), holds a heavier load, is more fuel efficient, and we have one of those right now.” Harbour said the Forest Service has mutual aid agreements with Cal Fire (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection), the county and other firefighting agencies. “Residents will be protected for coming fire season,” he said. “That always is our goal, along with the dedicated men and women of the Forest Service. So residents should feel comfortable about the Forest Service's ability to respond to local wildfires.”
Neptune Aviation Accelerates Air Tanker Readiness For Predicted Early Fire Season
Neptune Aviation Services Press release .pdf - Link